North Heads North on Leaderboard
Tom Watson carded a 66 and is tied for third place with the man who beat him in a playoff at this year's U.S. Senior Open, Don Pooley, as well as Tom Purtzer, Dana Quigley and overnight leader Jim Thorpe. The group stands at 7-under-par 137.
During Saturday's second round, Lietzke was the story as he cruised up the leaderboard, but by the time play reached the back nine, it was all North. North birdied No. 10 to reach 2-under for the round, but the best was yet to come for the two-time U.S. Open champion.
At the 15th, North drained an 18-footer for birdie from off the green. He knocked a pitching-wedge to four feet to set up birdie at the 16th and made it three in a row with a two-putt birdie at the par-5 17th.
North capped off his round of 66 with a beautiful 9-iron approach at the 18th that landed four feet from the hole. He ran home the birdie putt to take the lead into the final round for the first time since joining the Senior Tour in 2000.
'Starting the day, you're thinking you're going to have to shoot low scores and I got off to a quick start with a birdie at No. 1,' said North, who made it into the tournament as an alternate after Tom Wargo went into the hospital for heart problems last week. 'Then I played some really nice shots at the end and all of the sudden it was a wonderful round of golf.'
North is winless in 66 starts on the Senior Tour and has not visited the winner's circle since the 1985 U.S. Open at Oakland Hills.
'I had numerous physical problems I went through the last 10 or 12 years where I couldn't golf,' said North, who works as an analyst for ESPN. 'It's fun to be in the last group. You get up on Sunday; you're nervous and it means something.'
Lietzke tallied four birdies over the first 13 holes, but his late play propelled him into second place. He holed a 10-foot birdie putt at the 15th and made it back-to-back birdies with a 15-footer on No. 16.
At the par-5 17th, Lietzke's 60-footer for eagle found the bottom of the cup, putting him one birdie away from breaking the course record.
He knocked a 6-iron to eight feet at 18 and converted the putt to break Thorpe's previous mark of 64.
'I got caught up in a whirlwind at the end,' said Lietzke, a two-time winner on tour in 2002. 'That finish really moved me up the leaderboard. I didn't come close to any bogeys today.'
Lietzke might have an advantage of the field come Sunday. In 2001, he fired a 66 in the final round to take the title in the tournament's first appearance on the Senior Tour schedule.
'That would be something the other players are aware of and I'm aware of,' said Lietzke. 'I know how this golf course can play on Sunday. That's a plus for me.'
Wayne Levi is alone in eighth place at 6-under par, followed by Dick Mast, Jim Ahern, Gil Morgan, Allen Doyle and Sammy Rachels, who share ninth at minus-5.
Full-field scores from SAS Championship
Woods, McIlroy in Sunday super group in finale
ATLANTA – Rory McIlroy has made known his disdain for “super groups” in early tournament rounds.
Well, he’s now got one on Sunday at the Tour Championship. And it doesn’t get more super than this.
McIlroy will play alongside Tiger Woods in the final pairing, in the final round at East Lake Golf Club. Woods leads McIlroy – and Justin Rose – by three shots.
“All I can do is worry about myself,” McIlroy said. “It doesn't matter who it is I'm playing with. It's obviously exciting for the golf tournament. It's exciting for golf, in general, that he's up there. But for me, all I can do is concentrate on myself. The game is hard enough without having to – without looking at other people. Go out there, take care of my business, and hopefully that's good enough.”
This is the fifth time that McIlroy and Woods have been grouped this year. They were alongside one another in the first two rounds of the Genesis Open and the first two rounds of the PGA Championship.
In the four previous rounds, McIlroy finished better twice, Woods once, and they tied once.
“It's going to be fun. We haven't done that much of late, because I've not been there,” Woods said. “He has been there, and he's won a bunch of tournaments. So it's nice for us to go back out and play against one another, be in the mix.”
We know Woods will be wearing his traditional red in the final round. As for McIlroy?
"I think I'll wear red," McIlroy joke. "No, geez, I've regretted wearing black out here today. It was hot."
They go out at 2:05 p.m. ET.
Stricker, Jobe share lead in Sioux Falls
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Steve Stricker and Brandt Jobe topped the Sanford International leaderboard again Saturday after another cool and breezy day in the inaugural PGA Tour Champions event.
After matching Jerry Smith and David McKenzie with first-round 7-under 63s, Striker and Jobe each shot 67 to get to 10-under 130 at Minnehaha Country Club.
''It was a challenge out there today,'' Stricker said. ''It was gusty, the wind came out of the south, where we played yesterday it was out of the north, so it was a totally different golf course.''
Jobe made an 18-foot birdie putt on the par-4 18th, and Stricker missed a 6-footer to leave them tied.
''It's pretty straightforward off the tee and the greens are what make it difficult at times and you've just got to be in the right spot to have good birdie putts at it,'' Stricker said. ''If not, then you've got to play pretty defensive at times. ... It's a simple game plan, but try to stay out of trouble and keep trying to put pressure on everybody.''
Stricker won in Arizona and Mississippi in consecutive starts in May for his first senior victories. Next week in France, he will be one of U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk's assistants.
Jobe birdied four of the last five holes. He won last year in Iowa for his lone senior title
''I think we kind of got used to what the wind was,'' Jobe said. ''Of course, there's some scoring holes on the back. The front played very difficult. It was just kind of try not to screw up for a while there.''
Smith was a stroke back after a 68.
Scott McCarron also had a 68 to get to 8 under. Woody Austin was 7 under after a 64.
McKenzie had a 77 to drop into a tie for 43rd at even par.
Final-round tee times: Tiger, Rory in last pairing
It's Tiger Woods. It's Rory McIlroy. It's the final pairing in the final round of the Tour Championship.
Here's a look at tee times for Sunday at East Lake Golf Club.
(All times ET)
11:45AM: Patrick Reed (+8), Phil Mickelson (+11)
11:55AM: Keegan Bradley (+5), Bubba Watson (+5)
12:05PM: Brooks Koepka (+4), Francesco Molinari (+4)
12:15PM: Kevin Na (+2), Patrick Cantlay (+2)
12:25PM: Bryson DeChambeau (+2), Cameron Smith (+2)
12:35PM: Jason Day (E), Rickie Fowler (E)
12:45PM: Marc Leishman (E), Patton Kizzire (E)
12:55PM: Tommy Fleetwood (-2), Hideki Matsuyama (-1)
1:05PM: Justin Thomas (-4), Webb Simpson (-3)
1:15PM: Gary Woodland (-4), Xander Schauffele (-4)
1:25PM: Aaron Wise (-4), Dustin Johnson (-4)
1:35PM: Tony Finau (-5), Billy Horschel (-5)
1:45PM: Jon Rahm (-6), Paul Casey (-5)
1:55PM: Justin Rose (-9), Kyle Stanley (-6)
2:05PM: Tiger Woods (-12), Rory McIlroy (-9)
FedExCup projections through Rd. 3 of the Tour Championship
Justin Rose remains the man to beat for the FedExCup title. Though he trails Tiger Woods by three shots through three rounds of the Tour Championship, he's still the projected winner of the $10 million bonus.
Woods can still win the cup if he wins the Tour Championship and Rose finishes in a three-way tie for fifth or worse. He also needs Bryson DeChambeau [currently T-21] to finish in a two-way tie for 15th or worse and Tony Finau [T-6] to finish in a two-way tie for third or worse.
Here are the FedExCup projections with 18 holes to play at East Lake Golf Club.
|FedExCup Rank||PLAYER NAME||FedExCup Points|