Tiger Woods falls into share of the lead at JBWere Masters

By Doug FergusonNovember 14, 2009, 4:29 pm
JBWere Masters

MELBOURNE, Australia – The tee shot sailed to the right and onto a sandy path. His driver bounced left and into the gallery.

Tiger Woods couldn’t get anything straight Saturday in the Australian Masters.

About the only thing that gave him hope after he struggled to an even-par 72 in the third round at Kingston Heath was seeing his name atop the leaderboard in a three-way tie for the lead with the Australian duo of James Nitties and Greg Chalmers.

“It certainly should have been a lot worse than that,” Woods said.

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods couldn't get a putt to drop in Round 3. (Getty Images)
Right when the record-setting gallery was ready to coronate the world’s No. 1 player, Woods squandered a three-shot lead in six holes and had to rally over the back nine – by playing even par – just to stay in the hunt.

Woods hit one poor shot after another on a relatively benign day for scoring and created opportunities for so many others. He started with a three-shot lead. By the end of the day, a dozen players were separated by four shots.

Chalmers, who hasn’t won in Australia in 11 years, had the lead for most of the back nine until he missed a 6-foot par putt on the 16th hole and a birdie putt from about that range on the 18th. He shot a 69.

Nitties, who easily secured his PGA Tour card during his rookie season in America, agonized over so many putts that burned the edge early in the round. Even so, he kept bogeys off his card and also shot a 69.

They were at 10-under 206 with Woods, who had a chance to regain the lead until missing a 10-foot birdie on the final hole, a fitting conclusion to a round he would rather forget.

“Didn’t hit the ball very good on the range, and on the golf course wasn’t very good, either,” Woods said. “I hit some really good shots out there, but also I hit some really terrible golf shots. There was no gray area. Very fortunate to be tied for the lead.”

The low point came at the 13th.

Woods had played the par-5 12th nearly perfectly until he badly missed a 5-foot birdie putt. Still steaming, he opted for driver off the tee at the 354-yard 13th, especially with the pin to the back right of the green. The only place he couldn’t afford to hit it was to the right.

It went well to the right.

Woods slammed the head of his driver into the turf, and it bounced up and into the gallery to the left. One surprised fan caught the club and returned it.

“That was my mistake,” Woods said. “I got hot after a bad tee shot and let go of the club.”

Woods is playing Down Under for the first time since the 1998 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne. This 11-year anniversary took on an additional meaning Saturday, however, with the prospect of Chalmers winning on home soil for the first time in 11 years.

He described making up a three-shot deficit to Woods as a “tall order.” Tied for the lead with 18 holes is far better odds.

“I don’t think anybody is sitting around trying to hand the trophy to anybody else,” Chalmers said. “I think everyone is fighting to shoot the lowest score they can.”

Woods knew he was in for a long day on the par-5 opening hole, among the easiest on the course. He blocked his 3-iron into the hay to the right of the green and failed to make birdie for the first time all week. Even so, his 35-foot birdie on the second gave him a four-shot lead over fellow American Jason Dufner.

Four holes later, his lead was gone.

Woods three-putted from the fringe on the third, had to make par putts from 8 feet and 18 feet on the seventh and eighth holes, and dropped another shot on the 11th when he chipped from below the green and nearly went into a bunker on the other side.

“Today was reflective of how I warmed up,” he said. “I’m very fortunate to be tied for the lead. I played myself into a tie. I could have played myself out of the tournament.”

Dufner took the lead for the first time with a 40-foot birdie putt on No. 8, only to scramble for bogey at No. 9 as Chalmers moved to the top with his 30-foot birdie on the ninth. Dufner didn’t make birdie the rest of the way, dropped shots on the 16th and 17th, and shot 71. He was tied with Cameron Percy (69) at 8-under 208.

Michael Sim, who set an earnings record on the Nationwide Tour this year with three victories, had a 69 and was at 6-under 210 with Stuart Appleby (71), while Adam Scott had a 69 and was another shot back.

Asked what it would take to win, Nitties joking said, “Hope that Tiger doesn’t turn up.”

Nitties spent the first two rounds playing behind Woods, coping with fans who are allowed to stand in crosswalks and surround every green. He gets to play behind him again Sunday, and that’s a good thing – it means he’s no longer trailing.

Nitties was surprised, not that he was playing in the final group, but that Woods wasn’t there, too.

“I want to be playing with Tiger. He’s my idol. It’s disappointing,” Nitties said.

He paused, then smiled before adding, “It’s not that disappointing.”


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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

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Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

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