Saturday's Golf Capsules
Sunday, March 25, 2012
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — One swing cost Tiger Woods a comfortable lead at Bay Hill. All that mattered to him was his name atop the leaderboard at the end of the day, leaving him one round away from winning on the PGA Tour for the first time in 30 months.
If anything, Saturday showed that it won't be easy in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
In two holes, Woods went from a four-shot lead to briefly tied with Graeme McDowell after a bizarre chain of events that featured a young man passing out and a woman screaming, all in the middle of Woods' swing on the 15th tee. But he followed the double bogey with a birdie from a fairway bunker on the par-5 16th to restore his lead, and then hung on for a 1-under 71 that gave him a one-shot lead over McDowell going into the final round.
McDowell didn't make a birdie until the 17th hole, but he was bogey-free on a tough day for a 71.
Woods is 37-2 when he has the outright lead going into the final round, and Sunday will show if he has regained his status as the most formidable closer in golf.
Woods, who was at 11-under 205, last won on the PGA Tour on Sept. 13, 2009, at the BMW Championship. That also was the last time he had the outright lead at a PGA Tour event after 54 holes. He has never had a better chance to end the drought than now — in the lead and on a course where he has won a record six times.
Ernie Els rekindled his hopes of getting into the Masters with six birdies in a round of 67 that left him only three shots behind. Ian Poulter had a 68 and also was tied for third.
After reaching 13 under, Woods pulled his tee shot on the par-3 14th — so tough Saturday it yielded only one birdie — and caught a buried lie. He blasted out across the green and had to get up-and-down for bogey.
On the 15th tee, Woods was in the middle of his swing when an 18-year-old passed out, and a woman screamed when she saw it. Woods couldn't stop his swing, and his tee shot hooked so far left out of bounds that it was closer to a swimming pool in someone's backyard than the white boundary stakes of the golf course.
Woods made double bogey, and McDowell caught him atop the leaderboard with his first birdie of the round on the 17th. It didn't last long. From a fairway bunker on the 16th, Woods ripped it over the water to about 20 feet for a two-putt birdie. He got up-and-down from the bunker on the 17th and two-putted for par on the 18th.
CARLSBAD, Calif. (AP) — Top-ranked Yani Tseng remained in position for her second straight LPGA Tour title and third in five events this year, shooting a bogey-free 3-under 69 to take a three-stroke lead into the final round of the Kia Classic.
Tseng missed a 5-foot birdie try on the par-5 17th, then saved par with an 8-foot putt on the par-4 18th to finish at 12-under 204 on La Costa's Legends Course
The 23-year-old Taiwanese star won the LPGA Founders Cup last week in Phoenix for her 14th LPGA Tour title, and also won the LPGA Thailand in February. 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.
South Korea's Jiyai Shin was second after a 68.
MISSISSIPPI GULF RESORT CLASSIC
SAUCIER, Miss. (AP) — Jeff Sluman shot an 8-under 64 to climb into a tie with Fred Couples for the second-round lead in the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic.
Sluman birdied five of his final seven holes in his bogey-free round to reach 11 under at Fallen Oak. Couples birdied all six holes Saturday morning in the completion of the suspended first round for a course-record 63, then shot a 70 in the second round.
Jim Thorpe will join Sluman and Couples in the final group Sunday. The 63-year-old Thorpe, two strokes back after a 65, is winless on the Champions Tour since 2007.
HASSAN II TROPHY
AGADIR, Morocco (AP) — Italian teenager Matteo Manassero stayed in the running for a spot in the Masters, moving within a stroke of lead before darkness ended third-round play in the Hassan II Trophy.
Ireland's Damien McGrane topped the leaderboard at 12 under after 10 holes. The 18-year-old Manassero completed 16 at Golf du Palais Royal. He must win to move into the top 50 and earn a position at Augusta National. Spain's Jose Manuel Lara also was a stroke back through 10 holes.
Only 29 players completed the third round.
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