Greg Norman, fully recovered from a wrist injury he suffered last year, shot his third consecutive 68 Saturday to take the lead after three rounds of the USF&G; golf tournament at New Orleans.
“Four of these would be nice, wouldn’t it,” Norman said after moving past Tim Simpson for first place. “That’s probably what it will take, anyway. I hope I shoot another 68 tomorrow, then we’ll see what happens.”
Norman tore tendons in his left wrist last summer when his club hit a submerged boulder in the second round of the U.S. Open. He missed nearly two months of play and was slowed the rest of the year.
“I’m doing well, playing well, hitting solid irons,” he said. “I made a couple of nice putts. I think I missed three fairways all day.”
Norman’s 54-hole score of 12-under-par 204 put him one shot ahead of Simpson, who entered the day tied for the lead with Dan Forsman. Simpson shot a 70.
Norman had six birdies and two bogeys. His shortest birdie putt was a five-footer on the second hole. He also sank birdie putts of 15, 30, 30, 12 and 12 feet.
Simpson had a chance to tie for the lead but bogeyed the 18th hole.
“It was about as bad as anybody could putt,” Simpson said. “I had an opportunity to run away and hide, slam the door, and I couldn’t do it. At the very worst, I should be 15-16 under par. I’m so frustrated, I want to pull my hair out.”
Forsman had a 71 and was tied with Hal Sutton at 206. Sutton eagled the 11th after a 305-yard drive, a 240-yard 4-iron and a putt of less than six inches.
After six years of being at or near the top in earnings, Sutton fell to 88th on the money list last year, when his best finish was 10th in the L.A. Open.
“I feel a lot better about my game. And I think my self-esteem is better,” Sutton said. “I was pretty down on myself. I never believed I’d hit the depths I hit.”
He said he had become too involved in other interests and lost his concentration.
“I swung as bad last year as I ever did in my life,” Sutton said. “I didn’t think it was possible I could swing that bad, and lo and behold. . . . I hope this doesn’t come back to haunt me tomorrow, but my game has been pretty solid all week.”
P.H. Horgan III was in fifth place at 207, and Payne Stewart was sixth at 208.
Tom Kite, seeking a third consecutive tournament victory, shot a 74 and was at 213, nine strokes behind. The last golfer to win three in a row was Gary Player in 1978.
Beth Daniel sank an eight-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to shoot a three-under-par 70 and take a one-shot lead over Allison Finney after three rounds of the $400,000 LPGA Turquoise tournament at Phoenix.
“Overall, it was my most consistent round this week as far as ball-striking,” Daniel said. “I hit it very solid. Things are starting to look pretty good out there. If I can just shoot under par (today), the rest of the field has to shoot more under par to catch me. I feel pretty good about my chances.”
Daniel, who won this tournament in 1982 when it was played in nearby Sun City, had four birdies and one bogey. Her birdie on the 18th put her at 11-under-par 208 heading into today’s final round.
Daniel, 32, is trying for the 15th win in her 11-year LPGA career. She hasn’t won since 1985.
Finney, a non-winner in seven years, had a three-shot lead over Daniel after two rounds but shot a 74 for a three-round total of 209.
“I was nervous today,” said Finney, whose best previous finish is a tie for second in the 1985 Mazda Hall of Fame Championship. “I just wanted to stay around par and stay in the hunt and that’s what I did. I’m not too displeased. I just have to come back strong now.”
Penny Hammel, who started the day six shots behind Finney, shot a 69 to move into third place at 210. Patti Rizzo had a 72 and was next at 211. Rosie Jones moved from 14th to fifth place at 213 after shooting a 69.
Rizzo called her round “a boring day. I didn’t hit it as close as yesterday. My ball marks were close, but I couldn’t stop the ball.”
Defending champion Ok-Hee Ku of South Korea shot a 74 and was in a six-way tie for sixth at 215.
Defending champion Bob Charles of New Zealand shot a one-under-par 71 to take a three-stroke lead after the second round of a $370,000 Senior tournament in Katori, Japan.
Charles had a six-under-par 138 over the 6,660-yard Oak Hills Country Club course.
Larry Mowry shot a 72 and is three strokes back in second place at 141. Tommy Aaron and Don January both shot 71 to share third at 142.