Gary Woodland and Jhonattan Vegas realize the marathon Bob Hope Classic will come down to a sprint.
At least the weather will be perfect for a good run at their first PGA Tour victories.
Vegas birdied the final five holes Saturday to rejoin Woodland for the second straight day atop a leaderboard dominated by hungry, inexperienced 20-somethings.
Woodland and Vegas shot 66s to set up a fifth-round showdown between two 26-year-olds with tremendous driving power and little experience in such pressure-packed situations. Neither slugger had ever held a lead on the PGA Tour until this week.
"This deal is still long from over," Woodland said. "It's going to be a shootout again. The conditions will be perfect again. The greens are perfect. You're going to have to go low."
Vegas fell several shots behind Woodland with a rough start on the La Quinta course before his flurry of birdies to get to 6 under, matching Woodland at 24 under for the week. Woodland was as steady as the postcard-perfect weather on the Palmer Private course in the PGA Tour's only five-day, four-course event.
"I saw the leaderboard and saw that Gary was [ahead], so I really tried to push it a little bit, and things went my way," said Vegas, who finished his round with an 18-foot birdie putt. "I stayed patient, stayed positive throughout the round, and was able to hit some really good shots in a row."
Vegas and Woodland will play together today with Scotland's Martin Laird, who was two shots back, on the generous Palmer course. The ideal Palm Springs conditions, described by more than one golfer as playing in a dome, are likely to make near-perfection necessary.
Cochran still ahead
KAUPULEHU-KONA, Hawaii -- Russ Cochran shot a 7-under 65 to keep a two-stroke lead over defending champion Tom Watson after the second round of the Champions Tour's season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship.
The 52-year-old Cochran, coming off a two-win season that broke a nearly 20-year drought, was in control for a second day, turning in another bogey-free round. The left-hander had seven birdies for a 17-under 127 total that matched Don Pooley's 36-hole record set in 2006.
Former Crag Burn pro Lonnie Nielsen had a 69 Saturday and is 12 shots off the lead.