Sean OHair leads Tiger Woods by five at Bay Hill

By Associated PressMarch 28, 2009, 4:00 pm
Arnold Palmer InvitationalORLANDO, Fla. ' Sean OHair couldnt think of a bad shot he hit over the last four holes, yet he still made three bogeys.
 
Tiger Woods was thrilled with his last two bogeys ' one after a shot caromed off the cart path, another after a shot no one could find along the banks of the lake guarding the 18th green.
 
Right after the sonic boom from the return of space shuttle Discovery resounded across the course, Bay Hill lowered a boom of its own Saturday and turned the Arnold Palmer Invitational into a windy, wacky test of survival.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods struggled Saturday, but still has a shot at his sixth API title. (Getty Images)
OHair managed better than most with a 1-over 71 that put him in the final group with Woods for the second straight year, with one big difference. Instead of being in a five-way tie, OHair has a five-shot lead over the worlds No. 1 player.
 
I dont think I can do anything thats going to make him play worse, OHair said. I think Im just going to focus on me and focus on my game and do what Im doing right now. And thats just playing shot-to-shot and add them up at the end.
 
The math was getting a little fuzzy late in the afternoon.
 
OHair had a six-shot lead with four holes to play, made three bogeys and still was five ahead, finishing at 7-under 203.
 
Woods only assured himself a spot in the final group when he spent five minutes looking for his ball in the shagging bank, took a penalty drop 145 yards from the hole and made a 25-foot for bogey and a 71.
 
Jason Gore was going to join them in the last group until he three-putted from 5 feet for double bogey on the last hole.
 
Heres how crazy the wind can make Bay Hill: Zach Johnson started the third round nine shots out of the lead, shot a 68 and will play in the final threesome with OHair and Woods.
 
I dont know how youre supposed to play a golf course like that, OHair said. So I just think everybody tries to hang on for dear life. Sometimes bogey is not a bad score. I think bogey is almost par for some holes.
 
It sure felt that way for Woods.
 
He caught a flyer from the rough on the 16th hole, and the ball bounced high off a cart path and landed some 50 yards away. His chip went through the green and almost in the water. Then he holed a 10-foot putt for bogey.
 
Even more impressive was the bogey on the 18th with the longest putt he has made all week.
 
To be honest, I didnt want to end up with a double bogey, he said. I finished over par, but I thought I played better than that.
 
Woods is a five-time winner of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, yet he has never won when he was trailing going into the final round. His largest final-round comeback on the PGA Tour was five shots in the 2000 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He once overcame an eight-shot deficit in the 1998 Johnnie Walker Classic in Thailand.
 
OHairs five-shot lead was the largest at Bay Hill since Woods led by five in 2003.
 
Because of rain in the forecast, the starting times Sunday will be threesomes in the middle of the day. If the forecast for heavy overnight rain holds true, it could drastically change a Bay Hill course that has been firm, fast and tough all week.
 
The third round was the toughest yet, with the average score nearly 3 1/2 shots over par.
 
Youre just plotting your way around ' fairway, green, then trying to two-putt most of the time, Johnson said. Its difficult. Par is a great number today.
 
So great that only four players broke par, and four others shot even.
 
Ryuji Imada had a 73 and was tied at 1-under 209 with Gore and Johnson. No one else was under par.
 
Brandt Snedeker had the best round Saturday ' a 67 with no bogeys, which was astounding given the harsh conditions. His reward was a rocket ride up the leaderboard, moving up 42 spots into a tie for sixth at 210.
 
One reason the round took so long was an unusual ruling on the ninth hole involving Kevin Na.
 
He pulled his tee shot to the left, where there are out-of-bounds stakes near the fence of the driving range. A woman retrieved the ball, and once she was located, the rules official asked where she had picked it up.
 
She pointed to a spot that was about a foot OB, and official Steve Rintoul told Na he would have to play his provisional.
 
Na was furious. He said the womens husband first said the ball was against the cart path, then the woman said she wasnt sure. He said she only pointed to the spot after Rintoul arrived. Na demanded to see head rules official Mark Russell, who upheld the decision.
 
He took triple bogey and played his next five holes in 3 over.
 
I dont care if youre Buddha, youre going to be upset, he said. Am I mad at the lady? No. Im mad at the situation.
 
It was only one oddity in a third round that was filled with them.
 
Divots: Davis Love III, who missed the cut, might still be able to get into the top 50 in the world and qualify for the Masters, but he needs some help. He would need Stuart Appleby to finish out of the top 32 and Aaron Baddeley to finish lower than 56th. The two Aussies were tied for 59th going into the final round. Hunter Mahan birdied three of his four holes, then played his final 10 holes in 7 over, including a 40 on the back nine.
 
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    Watch: Tiger 'drops mic' in long drive contest

    By Golf Channel DigitalMay 20, 2018, 12:44 am

    Tiger Woods is in Las Vegas this weekend for the 20th annual Tiger Jam charity event that benefits his foundation.

    During the tournament on Saturday afternoon, Woods challenged World Long Drive competitor Troy Mullins to a long drive contest.

     

    A post shared by TROY MULLINS (@trojangoddess) on May 19, 2018 at 1:25pm PDT

    Safe to say it looks like Tiger won.

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    Sunday showdown for Wise, Leishman at Nelson

    By Will GrayMay 19, 2018, 11:40 pm

    DALLAS – While the swirling Texas winds may still have their say, the AT&T Byron Nelson is shaping up to be a two-horse race.

    With a four-shot gulf between them and their closest pursuers, co-leaders Marc Leishman and Aaron Wise both stepped up to the microphone and insisted the tournament was far from over. That it wouldn’t revert to a match-play situation, even though the two men didn’t face much pressure from the pack down the stretch of the third round and have clearly distanced themselves as the best in the field through 54 holes.

    But outside of an outlier scenario or a rogue tornado sweeping across Trinity Forest Golf Club, one of the two will leave with trophy in hand tomorrow night.

    That’s in part because of their stellar play to this point, but it’s also a byproduct of the tournament’s new and unconventional layout: at Trinity Forest, big numbers are hard to find.

    Even with the winds picking up during the third round and providing the sternest challenge yet, the field combined for only 16 scores of double bogey, and nothing worse than that.


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    There’s irony in a course called Trinity Forest offering a tree-less test, sure, but there are also no water hazards in play here. For the most part, players have been maxing out with bogey – and Leishman and Wise have combined for only six of those so far this week.

    If someone from the chase pack is going to catch them, the two sharing the pole position aren’t going to do them any favors.

    “I don’t really want to give them a chance,” Leishman said. “I’d love to go out and shoot a low one and make Aaron have to shoot a good score tomorrow to beat me, which, I fully expect him to shoot a good score.”

    While Leishman has been somewhat of a late bloomer on the PGA Tour, with only one win across his first eight seasons, he now has a golden opportunity to add a third trophy in the last 14 months. He has felt right at home on a sprawling layout that reminds him of a few back in his native Australia, and he’s part of a Down Under invasion on a leaderboard that also includes Matt Jones (-13) and Adam Scott (-9).

    While Wise briefly held sole possession of the lead, Leishman has seemingly held an iron grip on the top spot since opening his week with a blistering 61.

    “Before last year, I was a pretty slow starter. I always got off to a slow start Thursday, or I’d be fighting to make the cut and have a good weekend to slide into the top 10,” Leishman said. “Getting into that round straight away on the first tee rather than the ninth green or something, which sounds like a really basic thing, but it’s something I didn’t do very well until last year.”

    But as Leishman acknowledged, he likely can’t count on a stumble from Wise to help finish off a wire-to-wire victory. As the youngest player to make the cut this week, Wise is facing a challenge of taking down a top-ranked Aussie for the second time in as many starts.

    While he came up short at the Wells Fargo Championship, tying for second behind Jason Day, he remains supremely confident that he can put those hard-earned lessons to use this time around.

    “I feel like it’s a great opportunity,” Wise said. “It will obviously be a huge day for me. I feel like having one go at it already, I’m a little more confident going into it this time.”

    Even among the landscape of the Tour’s promising next wave, Wise stands out as a particularly young gun. Still only 21, he could feasibly be heading to Karsten Creek next week with his Oregon Duck teammates to close out his senior season with another NCAA championship appearance.

    But Wise turned pro after winning the NCAA individual title as a sophomore, and he steadily worked his way through the professional ranks: first a win on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada, then one last summer on the Web.com Tour.

    Now he’s poised to turn what he described as a “lackluster” season before his Quail Hollow runner-up into one that defies even his own expectations.

    “Absolutely, I am way ahead of the curve. It’s pretty hard to do what I’ve done at such a young age. Only a few have done it,” Wise said. “I feel like I’m getting some great experience for a kid this young. It’s only going to serve me well down the road.”

    An unpredictable Coore-Crenshaw layout will have one more day to star, and outside of Wise the top six names on the leaderboard have at least one Tour win to their credit. But after the two men traded punches on a firm and fast afternoon, it sure feels like the final round is shaping up to offer more of the same.

    For Leishman, it’s a chance to add another notch to some quickly expanding credentials; for Wise, it’s an opportunity to win on the one level he has yet to do so.

    “It’s golf, at the end of the day. If you play better than everyone else, you’re going to win,” Wise said. “That’s why I play it. That’s why I love this sport, and tomorrow is nothing different.”

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    5 thoughts from NCAA Women's Championship Day 2

    By Ryan LavnerMay 19, 2018, 11:35 pm

    The field is almost halfway through stroke-play qualifying at the NCAA Women’s Championship. Here are some thoughts on the first two days at Karsten Creek:

    1. UCLA is on a mission. Just a year ago, the Bruins were headed home from regionals after becoming the first No. 1 seed that failed to advance out of the qualifying tournament. This year, with the core of the team still mostly intact, the Bruins have opened up a five-shot lead on top-ranked Alabama and a comfortable 16-shot cushion over Southern Cal in third place. On one of the most difficult college courses in the country, UCLA has received contributions from all four of its usual counters – standout Lilia Vu shot 68 on Saturday, while Mariel Galdiano posted a 69. Freshman Patty Tavatanakit and junior Bethany Wu also broke par. This is a strong, deep lineup that will pose issues for teams not just in stroke-play qualifying, but also the head-to-head, match-play bracket.

    2. What happened to Arkansas? Riding high off their first SEC Championship and a dominant regional performance, the Razorbacks were considered one of the top threats to win the national title. But entering Sunday’s third round of stroke play, they need to hold it together just to ensure they make the top-15 cut. Arkansas is 32 over par through two rounds. The Razorbacks had shot in the 300s just once this season in the play-five, count-four format. Here at Karsten Creek, they’ve now done so in consecutive rounds.


    NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Team scoring

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    3. The Player of the Year race is heating up. With a decent showing at nationals, Arkansas’ Maria Fassi should have been able to wrap up the Annika Award, given annually to the top player in the country. She has six individual titles, plays a difficult schedule and is well-liked among her peers. But through two rounds she’s a whopping 15 over par while spraying it all over the map. If the Razorbacks don’t survive the 54-hole cut, neither will Fassi. That’d open the door for another player to steal the votes, whether it’s UCLA’s Vu or Wake Forest’s Jennifer Kupcho. There’s a lot still to be decided.

    4. Stanford has steadied itself. One of the biggest surprises on Day 1 was the horrendous start by the Cardinal, one of just two teams to advance to match play each of the three years it’s been used to determine a national champion. They were 19 over for their first nine holes Friday, but instead of a blowup round that cost them a shot at the title, they’ve found a way to hang tough. Stanford has been just 4 over par over its last 27 holes. Andrea Lee made only one bogey during her second-round 69, Albane Valenzuela eagled the 18th hole for a 73 and senior leader Shannon Aubert – who has been a part of each postseason push – carded a 74. And so, even with its early struggles, coach Anne Walker once again has Stanford in position to reach match play.

    5. Karsten Creek is identifying the best teams. The top teams in the country want a difficult host venue for NCAAs – it helps separate the field and draws an unmistakable line between the contenders and pretenders. Only one team (UCLA) is under par after 36 holes. Fewer than a dozen players are under par individually. The dearth of low scores might not be the greatest advertisement for how talented these players are, but the cream has still risen to the top so far: Five top-10 teams currently sit inside the top 7 on the leaderboard (and that doesn’t even include last year’s NCAA runner-up Northwestern). This is all any coach wants, even if the scores aren’t pretty.

    Quick hits: Cheyenne Knight, part of Alabama’s vaunted 1-2-3 punch along with Lauren Stephenson and Kristen Gillman, shot rounds of 70-69 to figure in the mix for individual honors. The junior will turn pro after nationals. …  Arizona’s Bianca Pagdanganan made a hole-in-one on the 11th hole Saturday en route to a 68 that tied the low round of the day. She’s at 5-under 139, same as Knight. ... Defending champion Arizona State, which lost star Linnea Strom to the pro ranks at the halfway point of the season, is 35 over par after two rounds. … Play was delayed for nearly an hour and a half Saturday because of inclement weather.

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    Wise (21) makes Leishman (34) feel a little old

    By Will GrayMay 19, 2018, 10:55 pm

    DALLAS – With the final round of the AT&T Byron Nelson likely to take on a match-play feel, Marc Leishman likes his chances to close out another win – even if his opponent makes him feel a little old.

    Leishman, 34, shares the lead at Trinity Forest Golf Club with 21-year-old Aaron Wise, who was the youngest player to make the cut at the tournament’s new venue. The two men will start the final round at 17 under, four shots clear of their next-closest pursuers.

    Leishman played the third round alongside Wise and Brian Gay, and he originally didn’t realize just how fresh-faced his fellow co-leader is.


    Full-field scores from the AT&T Byron Nelson

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    “He’s a solid player for, I heard this morning he’s only 21. I didn’t realize that,” Leishman said. “I guess I was in high school before he was born, so that’s – I don’t know. You hear guys talk about that all the time but I’ve never said that, I think. Yeah, he’s a good player.”

    Wise won the 2016 NCAA individual title while at Oregon, and he opted to turn pro after his sophomore season. While he could have been capping his senior season with a return to the NCAAs next week, Wise is pleased with the career choice and remains eager for a chance to close out his first career PGA Tour win against a seasoned veteran.

    “I feel like I’m in a great spot for tomorrow,” Wise said. “I feel like I’m getting some great experience for a kid this young. It’s only going to serve me well down the road.”