Singh Leads Leonard by One at PGA

By Sports NetworkAugust 14, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 PGA ChampionshipHAVEN, Wis. -- Vijay Singh, the 1998 PGA Champion, posted a 3-under 69 on Saturday to take the 54-hole lead of the 86th PGA Championship. He stands at 12-under-par 204 and owns a one-shot lead over Justin Leonard, who bogeyed 18 for a round of 2-under 70 at Whistling Straits.
 
Phil Mickelson, the reigning Masters champion, flew up the leaderboard with a 5-under 31 on the front side. He shot a 5-under 67 and is tied for third place with Stephen Ames (69), Darren Clarke (72), Ernie Els (72) and Chris Riley (69) at 8-under-par 208.
 
Tiger Woods barely extended his PGA Tour record for consecutive cuts made on Friday. He birdied two of his final three in the second round to push the number to 129.
 
Woods carded a 69 on Saturday, but never got anything going on the back nine. He is tied for 25th place at minus-3 and is in danger of running his majorless streak to 10.
 
'If I could get three or four more on the back nine, I would be right back where I needed to be,' said Woods, who won this title in 1999 and 2000. 'We need some help from the leaders.'
 
Singh and Leonard showed few signs in the third round that they will be coming back to pack. The duo shared the 36-hole lead and Leonard flinched first with a bogey at No. 1.
 
Leonard, the 1997 British Open champion, took first place with his play through the opening 10 holes. He collected a pair of short birdie putts at five and six, then knocked his approach to 4 feet at the 10th to reach 11 under par.
 
Leonard hit a pitching-wedge to 6 feet at the short, par-3 12th to set up birdie. He was now two clear of Singh, but the No. 3 golfer in the world was waiting to move up the leaderboard.
 
Singh drained an 18-foot birdie putt at the 13th to close the gap to a stroke. Leonard drove into the right rough at the 15th and was forced to lay up short of the green. He hit his third to 15 feet, but missed the putt, bogeying the hole and falling into a tie for the lead with Singh.
 
Both players found the fairway at the par-5 16th and Leonard's second came up short of the putting surface. Singh went after the green in two with a 5-wood, but his shot came to rest against the lip of a bunker in front of the green. Leonard pitched to 4 feet, while Singh could only manage to blast his 20 feet short of the stick. Singh ran home his long birdie putt and Leonard rolled his in on top of Singh and the duo remained knotted at minus-12.
 
The pair made routine pars at the par-3 17th, but Whistling Straits' difficult closing hole awaited. Each player drove in the short grass, but Leonard's second fell into a greenside bunker. Singh's approach came up 35 feet short of the hole.
 
Leonard barely advanced his ball past the fringe, leaving himself with about 40 feet. He narrowly missed that putt and tapped in for bogey. Singh's birdie effort came up 6 feet short, but he calmly holed the par-saver to take first by himself.
 
'I'm quite happy with the way I'm playing,' said Singh, who also won the 2000 Masters. 'I like playing with Justin and I was just having fun out there. I made some really good putts.'
 
Singh will have plenty going for him come Sunday afternoon. He is 10-7 all-time on the PGA Tour with a piece of the 54-hole lead, including seven wins in his last seven opportunities. The last time Singh did not win when he held at least a share of the third-round lead was the three years ago at the event in Hilton Head.
 
Also going for Singh is the history of players with the 54-hole lead at the PGA Championship. In the last seven years, a golfer who has part of the third-round lead has won six times. The only player who squandered the advantage was Leonard in 2002, when Rich Beem took the title.
 
'I think there's five other guys that are four back now,' said Singh. 'They have to play one shot better to catch me now. They have one more shot to catch up, and that meant a lot to me.'
 
Singh has four victories this season and if he hoists the Wanamaker Trophy Sunday afternoon, it will be the second time. It will also be his third major and Singh, despite not taking it as seriously as some, is excited about the prospect.
 
'Majors are important to me. Probably not as important as the other guys, but I strive to win majors,' said Singh. 'I'm going to go out and do my hardest. I'm going to try to beat everybody in the field if I can.'
 
Leonard is the closest in the rearview mirror, and despite not playing his best golf in 2004, he thinks he learned some valuable lessons from his final-round meltdown at Hazeltine.
 
'I've gained a lot of perspective in the last couple of years, since Hazeltine, and what I do tomorrow is not going to define the player that I am,' said Leonard, who finished as the runner-up to Davis Love III in 1997. 'I think that if I can keep that in my thoughts, then I'll have a better chance of doing the things that I've done and not worrying about trying to win a golf tournament.'
 
Els and Briny Baird held a piece of the lead at various points in Saturday's third round, but each struggled down the stretch. Baird triple-bogeyed the par-3 17th and Els bogeyed 18 after a poor club selection off the tee and a chip on the green.
 
Baird struggled to a 3-over 75 and is tied for 11th at 5-under-par 211.
 
Chris DiMarco will try to accumulate some much-needed Ryder Cup points on Sunday. In the third round, DiMarco carded a 1-under 71 and is alone in eighth place at 7-under-par 209.
 
Related Links:
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    Snedeker starts slow in effort to snag Masters invite

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

    Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

    Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

    World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

    Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

    Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

    Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

    The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

    Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

    "I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

    Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

    Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

    Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.

    Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

    By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

    Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.


    Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


    Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

    Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

    Getty Images

    LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

    The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

    LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

    "The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

    It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

    "He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."