Bubba Watson

Bubba Watson is tied for sixth, but four shots out of the lead, going into the final round the Northern Trust Open at the Riviera Country Club. (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images / February 15, 2014)

The brand-name golfers are in short supply in the Northern Trust Open, but one of the few rocketed into contention Saturday.

Bubba Watson shot a 64, tied for the best round of the week. He is tied for sixth, four shots out of the lead.

He has played this tournament seven times previously, missing the cut four times and never shooting better than 68.

"I've never played very good here, but I love it," he said.

How's that?

"I love the old-school layout," he said. "I love the history. I love that they haven't tinkered with it too much.

"But," he added with a smile, "if they want to change No. 10, they can."

Watson birdied the infamous 10th hole Saturday, but he had a double-bogey there Thursday, one of his three in the first two rounds. On Saturday, he had a par or birdie on every hole.

"Just made a few putts, got some balls to bounce my way on the greens, and here I am talking to you," he said.

Back in the swing

On the day after Jason Allred shot the round of his life, he did not turn into a pumpkin.

Allred, 33, qualified for the Northern Trust Open on Monday, his first PGA Tour event in four years. He has not won on the PGA Tour, or on the minor league circuit now known as the Web.com tour.

He shot a 64 on Friday, then a 67 Saturday. He is three shots off the lead, tied for fourth.

He thought about giving up golf last summer. Now he is one solid round away from a spot in the Masters, wearing a perpetual smile as he enjoys his sudden brush with fame. He said he struggled to maintain his confidence through the years, and he admitted his experience this week has exceeded any of his expectations.

"I need to be honest," he said. "It has totally blown them out of the water."

Allred graduated from Pepperdine. His best friend, Michael Beard, is the golf coach there. The Waves were driving to a tournament in La Quinta on Saturday, but Beard pushed back the departure by a couple of hours so the team could cheer on Allred.

"That meant the world to me," Allred said.

Walker's water

Jimmy Walker, whose victory at Pebble Beach last week gave him wins in three of the first eight tournaments this season, is tied with Watson and six others for sixth place.

One complication: He and his family travel by RV, and he said the utility hookups are not sufficient.

"We are kind of rationing the water consumption," he said.

That was the delicate way of answering an inquiry about whether his wife, Erin, really had to use the public showers at the RV facility.

"She's taken a couple there," Walker said at Riviera. "I've been coming in here and showering."

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

Twitter: @BillShaikin