Waite-ing For Woods
Waite used birdies at the 16th and 17th to tie Woods at 15-under, but missed a 3-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th, which would have given him sole possession of the 54-hole lead at the Glen Abbey Golf Club.
Waite and Woods are one-shot clear of Stephen Ames and J.L. Lewis, who chipped in for eagle at the home hole. Australian left-hander Greg Chalmers is solo fifth at 11-under, four off the lead.
Saturday, the Bell Canadian scoreboard was covered in more red than the National Flag. Everybody from Brian Watts to Keiichiro Fukabori earned of share of the lead at some point during the third round.
Stephen Ames made the biggest move on moving day. Born in Trinidad and Tobago, the 36-year-old is currently a resident of Calgary, Alberta. The transplanted Canuck carded nine birdies and no bogeys in Oakville, Ontario for a near-perfect round of 9-under-par 63.
In the clubhouse at 14-under, it appeared as if Ames had played his way into a final pairing with Woods on Sunday. That didn't happen, but it would have made for an interesting coupling.
Earlier in the year, Ames sent a broadside criticism to Woods, calling him 'spoiled' and saying Tiger was inconsiderate of players around him because of the commotion caused during his rounds.
A harsh statement considering Ames and Woods have never played in the same group together.
'I did the appropriate thing,' said Ames. 'I sent him a letter and apologized to him at Dallas.
'I don't think we'll have our boxing gloves on (tomorrow).'
Five-under for the day through his first 14 holes, Tiger gained a share of the lead by birdying the par-3 15th. You'll recall, Woods did the same in Friday's second round, which began a 6-under-par performance in a four-hole stretch.
Said Woods following his round: 'I looked over at (my caddie) Stevie and he said `Let's go.''
Tiger listened to his looper by carding his second eagle in as many days at the par-5 16th. This time, Woods smoked a 3-iron from 236 yards to within ten feet of the cup. He converted the eagle putt to move into first place by his lonesome at 15-under-par.
Tiger's momentum stalled after he missed a 17-foot birdie putt at the 17th. Still, Woods had one hole left - and a par-5 at that. In the greenside bunker in two, it took Tiger two more shots to get it out. Woods tapped in for a par.
'Today was a good day,' said Tiger, who has posted rounds 72-65-64. 'I drove the ball very well today. My driving allowed me to be a little more aggressive at the green.'
Saturday, Tiger hit 13 of 14 fairways. That would have been 12 for 14, had it not been for an unfortunate spectator. Tiger's tee shot at the par-4 8th went left, into the crowd, then caromed of the head of a young man, and back into the fairway.
'I felt so bad for the guy,' said Woods, who gave the dazed spectator a ball. 'He was very lucky he didn't get split open.'
Even par through his first 12 holes, Waite was floundering while everyone else was flourishing. But everything changed at the par-5 13th. Waite, whose only Tour victory came at the 1993 Kemper Open, stuck his second shot to seven feet, and then dropped in the ensuing eagle putt.
After two more pars on the 14th and 15th, Waite two-putted for birdie at the par-5 16th. Waite, now just one shot back of Tiger, joined his Orlando neighbor at the top of the leaderboard after another stellar approach shot resulted in another red number at the 17th.
Though he didn't convert the short birdie putt at the 18th, Waite still shot 68 on Saturday. And that will give him some much-needed confidence playing alongside Woods in the final round.
'I've never played with Tiger Woods in the final round or on the weekend,' said Waite. 'The only time I played with him in a Tour event, he was 17 and I could be beat. He wasn't as intimidating back then.'
Waite was making reference to the 1993 Doral-Ryder Open. Both players missed the cut, but Waite went on to win the following week.
'Maybe Tiger rubbed off on me,' Waite said with a smile.
Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole
KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.
After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.
It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.
Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.
Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.
Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder
Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.
Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.
“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”
The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.
“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”
Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.
Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder
LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.
Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.
''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''
It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.
''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''
Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.
''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''
After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.
''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''
He's making his first start in the event.
''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.
Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.
''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''
Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.
''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.
The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.
''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''
Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.
''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.
Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.
Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.
Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.
John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.
Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years
Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.
He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.
How rare is his missing the cut there?
The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.
The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.
The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.
Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.
Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.