Saturday's Golf Capsules
Sunday, March 18, 2012
PALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) — Retief Goosen felt so much pain in his lower back that he decided to pull out of next week's tournament and get treatment. One day later, he found himself atop the leaderboard in the Transitions Championship.
Goosen ran off three straight birdies late in his round Saturday for a 6-under 65, giving him a share of the lead with Jim Furyk with more than just another PGA Tour victory at stake.
Sunday is Goosen's last chance to qualify for the Masters.
Furyk, coming off his worst season since he was a rookie, hit a 6-iron to 3 feet for birdie on the par-3 15th hole and had the lead to himself until a three-putt bogey up a steep slope on the 18th. He had a 66.
The two past champions at Innisbrook were at 11-under 202, with plenty of others behind them.
Goosen started the third round five shots behind Jason Dufner, who had a 70. Going into the final round, there were 26 players within five shots of the lead on a Copperhead course that allows birdies early, and demands close to perfection down the stretch.
Sang-moon Bae found that out the hard way.
Bae, a rookie from South Korea, had the lead to himself for most of the back nine until Furyk caught him at the 15th. On the next hole, Bae drove into the trees to avoid the water running down the right side of the fairway, pitched out, then flew the green and three-putted for a triple bogey. He birdied the 17th and salvaged a 68. He was one shot behind, along with Dufner.
Goosen has a bulging disk and a degenerating disk in his lower back, which forced him to miss two majors last year. Kicking a soccer ball with his son last month caused it to flare up again, and the pain has been getting worse. What has saved the South African this week is the warm weather, and a few adjustments in his stance to help get through the ball. He plans to get a protein injection in his disks on Wednesday in Virginia, similar to the treatment that Vijay Singh and Fred Couples have received in Germany.
LPGA FOUNDERS CUP
PHOENIX (AP) — Ai Miyazato birdied three straight holes on the back nine and finished with a 6-under 66 for a share of the lead with Yani Tseng in the LPGA Founders Cup.
Miyazato, the ninth-ranked Japanese player who has seven LPGA Tour victories, birdied Nos. 14-16 and closed with two pars for a bogey-free round in partly cloudy, breezy conditions at Wildfire Golf Club. The weather is expected to a big factor Sunday, with the temperature plunging into the 50s and rain and strong wind forecast.
Tseng had a chance to take the outright lead on the par-4 18th after hitting to 10 feet out of the right fairway bunker, but her birdie putt rolled just past the left edge. The top-ranked Taiwanese star settled for a 67 to match Miyazato at 14 under.
Tseng successfully defended her LPGA Thailand title in February for her 13th LPGA Tour victory. She led the tour last season with seven victories — including major victories in the LPGA Championship and Women's British Open — and finished the year with 12 worldwide titles.
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Mark Calcavecchia shot his second straight 4-under 67 in rainy conditions to take a two-stroke lead in the Champions Tour's Toshiba Classic.
Calcavecchia, the 13-time PGA Tour winner who won the Boeing Classic last year for his lone victory on the 50-and-over tour, had six birdies and two bogeys on the Newport Beach Country Club course.
Fred Couples, the 2010 winner, was a stroke back along with Loren Roberts. Couples shot a 69 in the round delayed about two hours because of the rain. Roberts had a 70.
MARBELLA, Spain (AP) — Spain's Eduardo De la Riva shot a 4-under 68 to take a one-stroke lead at 12-under 204 after the third round of the Andalucia Open.
Eighteen-year-old Italian Matteo Manassero (68) and England's Simon Khan (66) were tied for second. Tournament host Miguel Angel Jimenez (69) was anither stroke back along with England's David Lynn (68) and South Africa's Henni Otto (68).