Monday Monday - Woods Leads by One at The Players Championship
Lightning forced a three-hour delay; and darkness officially suspended play in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., at 6:49pm ET.
Tiger Woods birdied the par-5 9th, his final hole of the day, to take a one-shot lead into the back nine on Monday.
Woods carded a 3-under-par 33 on the outward half to leapfrog playing companion and overnight leader Jerry Kelly. Tiger stands at 12-under-par, one stroke lower than Kelly, who played the front side in even-par 36.
Kelly is not alone in second place. Vijay Singh held sole possession of the lead at 12-under through eight holes, but bogeyed the par-5 9th to fall one back of Woods as darkness descended.
Not to be forgotten is Bernhard Langer. The meticulous German is just two off the lead at 10-under-par. Langer, whose last PGA Tour victory came in the 1993 Masters Tournament, recorded three birdies over his first nine holes. He will wake-up Monday morning to a five-foot par putt, which he elected not to putt out before walking off the course.
Last year, Woods trailed Hal Sutton by three strokes through 11 holes when play was suspended. That Monday, Tiger was able to cut his deficit to one; but he could get no closer.
This year, Woods is one up with nine holes remaining.
Im not going to do anything different, no, Tiger said when asked if he would change his game plan from that of a year ago.
After beginning his third round with a bogey, Woods wanted to get off to a hot start on Sunday; and thats exactly what he did. Tiger stuck his approach shot at the par-4 1st to six feet and converted the birdie putt to get within one of Kelly at 10-under-par.
Kelly had a bit of misfortune at the 1st. He hit a perfect drive down the center of the fairway, however, his ball finished in a sand-filled divot. He was unable to attack the flag, yet still managed a par.
Kelly hit the green in two on the par-5 2nd. Playing from the left rough, Woods came up about 30 yards short of the flag. Then, in typical Tiger fashion, the worlds No.1 ranked player chipped in for eagle.
There were no exuberant fist pumps, just a hi-five with his caddie. Unfazed, Kelly two-putted to remain in share of first place at 12-under.
It really didnt affect me one way or the other, Kelly said about Woods chip-in. I just kind of laughed a little bit. I said, This is what its all about.
At the par-4 4th, Woods took the solo lead when Kelly made bogey. The Wisconsin native barely cleared the water guarding the green on his approach shot ' I had 108 to the front of the green and I hit it about 108 , he said.
But faced with a monster birdie putt, Kelly was unable to lag his putt close to the hole. In fact, he rolled his ball clear off the green. He then missed the comebacker for a bogey 5.
While Woods and Kelly were trading positions, Singh was steadily making his way to the top. The Fijian responded to a bogey at the 3rd with back-to-back birdies on the 4th and 5th holes.
Singh then tied Woods for the lead at 12-under by making a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-4 7th.
Singh wasnt a co-leader very long, though, as Woods ran into trouble at the 7th. A missed fairway resulted in an approach shot into the bunker ' 55 yards from the hole. Woods was unable to convert the sand save and fell into a tie for second with Kelly at 11-under.
Following a par at the 8th, Singh found the thick, wet rough off the tee at the par-5 9th. To boot, he had a horrible lie and had to pitch out. Singh eventually found the green on his fourth shot, but missed a 10-footer for par to drop into a three-way tie for first at 11-under.
Im a little pissed about it, Singh said of the bogey. But I feel good about my game. Im looking forward to tomorrow. Ive had many of these delays before. Im just going to come back tomorrow, refocus, and try to finish it.
With the light fading quickly, Woods and Kelly were two swings into the 9th hole when the siren sounded to suspend play. Since they had already started the hole, by rule, they had the option of completing it.
Tiger finished by rolling in a blind 10-foot birdie putt to re-take the solo lead; while Kelly made a solid par save from four feet to stay within one.
I think it was just nice to end the day like that, said Woods. I dont look at the fact that I have the lead. I think it just feels good to end on a positive note.
Kelly, too, will go to sleep pleased.
It was fun. I really enjoyed it. That was everything I expected it to be, said Kelly. Im looking forward to playing with him tomorrow and looking forward to playing with him in many tournaments down the road.
While waiting to start his final round ' which didnt begin until nearly 5:00pm ET ' Kelly said he took a nap. Sleep may prove to be an advantage come Monday.
Singh lives just five miles from the course. Hes trying to become the third straight player on the PGA Tour to win an event while commuting from home. Woods did it last week at the Bay Hill Invitational in Orlando. Jesper Parnevik did the same two weeks ago at the Honda Classic in Coral Springs.
Im going to go home, Singh said after his round, not a hotel room like anybody else.
Said Woods: Im disappointed. I wanted to sleep in my own bed tonight. I was really looking forward to it.
News, Notes and Numbers
*22 players still have to complete their final rounds. Play will resume at 10:00am ET. NBC will cover the event live beginning at 10:00.
*This marks the sixth time in the 28-year history of The Players Championship that the tournament has been forced to a Monday finish due to inclement weather.
*Jerry Kelly is trying to become the first player to make The Players Championship his first-career PGA Tour victory.
*Bernhard Langer is trying to become just the second European player to win this event. Sandy Lyle won the tournament in 1987.
*Defending champion Hal Sutton holed his second shot to the par-4 4th for an eagle 2. It was the second time this week hes eagled that hole. He first did so Friday with a similar pin placement.
*Chris DiMarco aced the 186-yard 3rd hole using a 5-iron. It was the first hole-in-one of the week and the 20th ace in the history of the event.
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