by Mark Mayer | Charles Howell III could be considered the American version of Sergio Garcia a 20-something phenom who, though successful, has not lived up to expectations. Well Garcia came through last week at The Players and Howell now tops the leaderboard entering todays final round of the AT&T Classic in the Atlanta suburb of Duluth, Georgia.
Howell fired a third-round 67 to lead the tourney at 13-under-par, one shot better than Kenny Perry, who led in the final round of The Players. Whoever wins figures to pay bettors handsomely. Howell went off at 40-1 on the Las Vegas Hilton SuperBook board, while Perry was 25-1. Sharing third at 11-under-par are David Toms (25-1) and Jonathan Byrd (30-1).
Ryuji Imada (30-1) and Heath Slocum (40-1) are next at 10-under. Pre-tournament favorite Stewart Cink (10-1) is at 6-under along with the third choice Zach Johnson (15-1). Retief Goosen (12-1) is nine shots back at 4-under. Longshots Greg Norman (150-1) and David Duval (250-1) failed to make the cut.
In the Hiltons individual matchups, Johnson (even) holds a two-shot lead over Goosen (-120); Perry (-110) is one ahead of Toms (-110); Byrd (-105) is three ahead of Camilo Villegas (-115); and Howell (even) is virtual certainty to beat Steve Flesch, who starts the final round at -2.