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Waite-ing For Woods

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For the second consecutive week, Grant Waite has earned a spot in Sunday's final group. But this time - for the first time in seven years - he'll play alongside Tiger Woods in the final round of the Bell Canadian Open.
 
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.