Martin Laird holds three-shot lead at Phoenix Open

Martin Laird shoots a three-under 68 during third round of Phoenix Open

For all his birdies Saturday, two big pars kept Martin Laird in control at the Phoenix Open.

Laird made 10-footers for par on the 16th and 18th holes and had a 3-under 68, giving him a three-shot lead going into the final round over a new pair of the next generation.

Hideki Matsuyama of Japan roared into contention with a 63. Brooks Koepka finally found some fairways and used his power to shoot a 64. They were tied for second with Zach Johnson, who had a 67.

Laird, a Scot who has lived the last 14 years in Scottsdale, was at 13-under 200.

Among those still in the mix was Francesco Molinari, who made a hole-in-one before more than 15,000 rowdy fans on the par-3 16th hole.


Rory McIlroy extended his lead to four shots with a 6-under 66 in the third round of the Dubai Desert Classic in the United Arab Emirates.

The top-ranked McIlroy, who led by a stroke overnight, made just one birdie on the back nine of Emirates Golf Club's Majlis course after five birdies in his first eight holes.

With an overall 20-under 196, McIlroy can challenge the tournament winning record of 22 under, set by Stephen Gallacher in 2013 and Thomas Bjorn in 2001.

Denmark's Morten Orum Madsen, who shot a 9-under 63 on Friday, was second after a 66 with six birdies.

England's Lee Westwood (69) was third at 14-under 202, six shots adrift of McIlroy.


With a notable double prize not only within reach, but practically in her grip, teen star Lydia Ko had to settle for half of the spoils — though it represented a significant piece of golf history, nonetheless.

Though the New Zealander blew a late lead and had to settle for a share of second place at the LPGA Tour's season opener, where she finished a shot behind Na Yeon Choi, the 17-year-old Ko became the youngest player of either gender to reach No. 1 in the world ranking.

Ko, who held a four-shot lead on the front nine of the inaugural Coates Golf Classic in Ocala, Fla., double-bogeyed the 17th hole during a wild closing stretch, but still eclipsed Tiger Woods' mark as the youngest to reach the game's apex by nearly four years.

Choi closed with a 4-under 68 to finish at 16 under, a stroke ahead of Ko and Jessica Korda. Ko had a 71, and Korda shot 66.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times