GOLF ROUNDUP : Despite Putting Problems, Price Holds 1-Stroke Lead

From Associated Press

Nick Price battled some putting woes but finished with a one-under-par 71 that left him with a one-stroke lead Saturday after the third round of the Players Championship at Ponte Vedra, Fla.

Though Price kept the lead, his poor putting opened the way for a number of challengers in today's final round.

"I was disappointed with my putting on the back nine," Price said after missing four-footers for birdies on the 12th and 16th.

"I could have played the back a couple of shots better," he said. "But I didn't hurt myself."

The misses enabled Greg Norman, Bernhard Langer and Mark O'Meara to move to within one stroke of Price's 13-under-par 203 total.

All three did it in spectacular fashion.

O'Meara holed a 40-foot chip for an eagle-three on the 16th as the highlight of a six-under 66 that matched the best score of the breezy day.

Langer, a former Masters champion from Germany, came within inches of a hole in one on the island green of the 17th, the signature hole on the TPC at Sawgrass, the home course of the PGA Tour and the permanent site of the annual championship of golf's touring pros.

Only moments after Langer's near-ace on the 17th, Norman's 47-yard third shot to the 18th hit the green and spun back toward the hole, coming to rest on the lip of the cup. It saved a par and a 68 for Norman, a winner at Doral earlier this month.

Paul Azinger was next at 205 after a 68 with Ken Green and Payne Stewart at 206.

Stewart, on the rebound from a slump that has plagued him since his 1991 U.S. Open victory, was seven under for the day until he missed the green and bogeyed the final hole. He settled for a 66.

Walt Zembriski shot a four-under-par 68 and Bob Charles a two-under 70 at Kingwood, Tex., to share a one-stroke lead at 139 after two rounds of the Senior PGA Doug Sanders Celebrity Classic.

Bob Murphy, Kermit Zarley, Bobby Nichols, Harold Henning and first-round leader Jim Albus were all one stroke back at four-under 140 going into today's final round.

Zembriski, looking for his first victory since 1989, had seven birdies and three bogeys for his 68, low round of the day. Charles, a winner twice last year, had five birdies, a bogey and a double bogey for his 70.

"My 68 could have been a 64," Zembriski said. "I'm hotter than a pot-bellied stove. I missed a lot of makeable putts."

Albus, whose 66 on Friday gave him a two-shot lead going into the weekend, got to eight under before a double-bogey on No. 13 and a bogey on No. 14 pulled him back to the field. He finished the day with a 74.

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