Furious Finish Keeps Furyk in the Lead

By Mercer BaggsAugust 25, 2001, 4:00 pm
There were no left-handed shots Saturday. No trees struck. No flagsticks hit.
But there were a lot of good shots for Tiger Woods in the third round of the $5 million WGC-NEC Invitational.
Woods posted a 4-under-par 66 at Firestone Country Club to move to 11-under through 54 holes in Akron, OH.
But while Tiger has the headlines, Jim Furyk has the lead.
Thanks to a furious finish, Furyk matched Woods 66 to maintain a two-shot advantage at 13-under-par over the worlds top-ranked player heading into the final round.
'If you gave me my choice, Id rather be leading the golf tournament by two and teeing off with Tiger in the last group. Theres worse positions I could be in right now, Furyk said.
Furyk and Woods have distanced themselves from the 38-man field, but its not quite a two-man race to the $1 million finish line.
Paul Azinger (65) and Darren Clarke (68) are five off the lead at 8-under.
Phil Mickelson (70) is six back after receiving a one-stroke penalty at the par-5 16th.
Two off the lead at the time, the lefty blocked his tee shot into the left rough.
With his ball nestled in the thick grass, Mickelson was unable to clearly identify his ball, as he hadnt marked it when he put it into play. After conferring with rules officials, Mickelson picked up his ball to see if it was his, but when he did so, he failed to tell his playing partner, Furyk.
That resulted in a one-stroke penalty. Rule 12-2 in the Official Rules of Golf states ' Except in a hazard, the player may, without penalty, lift a ball he believes to be his own for the purpose of identificationBefore lifting the ball, the player must announce his intentions to his opponent in match play or his marker or fellow-competitor in stroke play.
Mickelson eventually carded a double-bogey 7.
A year ago, Woods won his second straight NEC title under the cover of darkness. This year, he may do the same under the cover of an umbrella.Due to the threat of thunderstorms in the afternoon, tournament officials have moved and split tee times.
The first pairing will go out on the back nine at 7:45 a.m. ET, with the leaders teeing off on the front at 9:06 a.m.
Play is expected to conclude around 1:00 p.m., barring weather delays.
CBS will broadcast the tournament in a tape-delayed format in its original 2:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. time period.
Playing in the penultimate group on Saturday, Woods birdied his first two holes to tie Furyk for the lead at 9-under.
Woods bogeyed the 4th, but actually took sole possession of the lead when Furyk bogeyed the 4th and 5th holes.
A couple of tight approach shots led to birdies at Nos. 9 and 10. He then completed his scoring by sinking a 12-foot birdie putt at the 16th.
I hit a lot of pretty good shots, Woods said. I got myself right there in contention with a chance to win tomorrow.
A victory would be the sixth straight for Woods in the Buckeye State. Tiger has won three consecutive Memorial Tournaments, played in Dublin, and the last two NEC Invitationals.
Woods is winless since capturing the Memorial in early June. Furyk, however, hasnt won since the season-opening Mercedes Championships.
Saturday, Furyk started sluggishly but finished mightily.
Following the back-to-back bogeys, Furyk made birdies at the 8th, 12th and 13th holes to regain a share of the lead at 10-under.
He stayed level with Tiger by birdieing the 16th, and then surged ahead with two more red numbers to shot a back-nine 5-under-par 30.
It turned into a very, very good day, Furyk said. Hopefully, tomorrow, things will go smoothly and Ill have a good round, but Ill be prepared. If its not looking well or its not going well early, I know I can plug away and turn it around like I did today.
News, Notes and Numbers
*Furyk has held at least a share of the lead heading into the final round of a PGA Tour event five times. He's won twice (1995, '99 Las Vegas Invitationals).
*U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen fired a 6-under-par 29 on the front nine Saturday. The score tied the nine-hole record at Firestone Country Club, set by Tom Weiskopf in the final round in 1977. Goosen started his round by holing a 9-iron from 142 yards for eagle. Hes played the 1st hole in 4-under-par through three rounds.
Check out Retief Goosens scorecard
The South African birdied his final hole to shoot 1-under 35 on the back nine. Goosens 64 has him a 5-under-par for the tournament.
*Colin Montgomerie broke 70 for the first time in the third round on the PGA Tour this season. Montgomerie shot 66 to move into a tie for 5th place at 7-under.
Full-field scores from the WGC-NEC Invitational
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Watch: Tiger throws dart, pours in birdie at 8

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 18, 2018, 7:31 pm

Starting Sunday five off the lead, Tiger Woods teed off his final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a laced 2-iron and a par at No. 1.

Woods hit the green at the par-3 second but left himself a 50-foot birdie putt and a 6-footer to save par, which we walked in.

A two-putt 4 at the par-5 fourth gave Woods his first birdie of the day and moved him to 8 under for the week. Apparently energized, Tiger pulled driver at the short par-4 fifth and unleashed this violent swing.

A pitch from the thick rough hit a sprinkler head and stopped on the apron, leading to this birdie try, which fortunately hit the pin but unfortunately didn't fall.

Looking to pick up another stroke - or two - at the par-5 sixth, Woods took his drive 317 yards over the water and hit this second shot from 227 yards to 13 feet, leading to another two-putt birdie when his eagle try burned the right edge.

Returning to his trusty 2-iron, Tiger found the fairway at par-4 eighth and then threw this dart from 176 yards to 6 feet and rolled in his third birdie putt of the day to move to 10 under.

(More coming...)

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Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Tiger TrackerMarch 18, 2018, 5:00 pm

Tiger Woods will start Sunday five off the lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. How will he follow up last week's runner-up? We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

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McIlroy: Time for Tour to limit alcohol sales on course

By Ryan LavnerMarch 18, 2018, 1:50 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Rory McIlroy suggested Saturday that the PGA Tour might need to consider curbing alcohol sales to stop some of the abusive fan behavior that has become more prevalent at events.

McIlroy said that a fan repeatedly yelled his wife’s name (Erica) during the third round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

“I was going to go over and have a chat with him,” McIlroy said. “I think it’s gotten a little much, to be honest. I think they need to limit the alcohol sales on the course, or they need to do something, because every week it seems like guys are complaining about it more and more.

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

“I know that people want to come and enjoy themselves, and I’m all for that, but sometimes when the comments get personal and people get a little bit rowdy, it can get a little much.”

This isn’t the first time that McIlroy has voiced concerns about fan behavior on Tour. Last month at Riviera, he said the rowdy spectators probably cost Tiger Woods a half-shot a round, and after two days in his featured group he had a splitting headache.

A week later, at the Honda Classic, Justin Thomas had a fan removed late in the final round.

McIlroy believes the issue is part of a larger problem, as more events try to replicate the success of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, which has one of the liveliest atmospheres on Tour.

“It’s great for that tournament, it’s great for us, but golf is different than a football game, and there’s etiquette involved and you don’t want people to be put off from bringing their kids when people are shouting stuff out,” he said. “You want people to enjoy themselves, have a good day.”

As for a solution, well, McIlroy isn’t quite sure.

“It used to be you bring beers onto the course or buy beers, but not liquor,” he said. “And now it seems like everyone’s walking around with a cocktail. I don’t know whether (the solution) is to go back to letting people walking around with beers in their hands. That’s fine, but I don’t know.”

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Confident Lincicome lurking after 54 holes at Founders

By Randy SmithMarch 18, 2018, 2:45 am

PHOENIX – Brittany Lincicome is farther back than she wanted to be going into Sunday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she’s in a good place.

She’s keeping the momentum of her season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic victory going this year.

Her confidence is high.

“Last year, I won in the Bahamas, but then I didn't do anything after that,” Lincicome said. “I don't even know if I had a top 10 after my win in the Bahamas. Obviously, this year, I want to be more consistent.”

Lincicome followed up her victory in the Bahamas this year with a tie for seventh in her next start at the Honda LPGA Thailand. And now she’s right back on another leaderboard with the year’s first major championship just two weeks away. She is, by the way, a two-time winner at the ANA Inspiration.

Missy Pederson, Lincicome’s caddie, is helping her player keep that momentum going with more focus on honing in the scoring clubs.

“One of our major goals is being more consistent,” Pederson said. “She’s so talented, a once in a generation talent. I’m just trying to help out in how to best approach every golf course.”

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Pederson has helped Lincicome identify the clubs they’re likely to attack most with on the particular course they are playing that week, to spend more time working with those clubs in practice. It’s building confidence.

“I know the more greens we hit, and the more chances we give ourselves, the more our chances are to be in contention,” Pederson said. “Britt is not big into stats or details, so I have to figure out how to best consolidate that information, to get us exactly where we need to be.”

Lincicome’s growing comfort with clubs she can attack with is helping her confidence through a round.

“I’ve most noticed consistency in her mental game, being able to handle some of the hiccups that happen over the course of a round,” Pederson said. “Whereas before, something might get under her skin, where she might say, `That’s what always happens,’ now, it’s, `All right, I know I’m good enough to get this back.’ I try to get her in positions to hit the clubs we are really hitting well right now.”

That’s leading to a lot more birdies, fewer bogeys and more appearances on leaderboards in the start to this year.