Course Uncompromising, but Singh Holds Off Sutton, Furyk
Even before the first shot was struck in the Tour Championship, the thick rough and linoleum-like greens promised to provide a grueling four rounds of golf at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. Vijay Singh is finally starting to feel it.
With every loose swing off the tee and every venture into the rough, Singh found himself in another battle to hang on to par.
“I didn’t play well enough to shoot 70,” he said.
Still, that was enough to give him a one-stroke lead Saturday over Hal Sutton and Jim Furyk heading into the final round today when the fairways will look a little more narrow, the rough a little deeper and all eyes will be on the scoreboard.
“I could shoot even par and win the tournament,” Furyk said. “I could shoot even par and lose by five. You just have to hang in there, try to do the best you can on every hole.”
Furyk (69) and Sutton (68) are the only players to break par all three rounds. More importantly, they kept Singh within range in the season-ending tournament for the top 30 money-winners on the PGA Tour.
“I watch the board, even if it’s a pro-am,” said Singh, who finished at seven-under 203. “I just hope I play better than I did today. Anybody who shoots a low score. . . . I think the winning score will not be seven under, but eight under or nine under or more.”
Only two other players are within striking distance. Jesper Parnevik birdied the 18th for a three-under 67 that put him at 207, four strokes off the lead.
Justin Leonard had a 68 and was at 208, historically a good place for him to be. He’s won all three of his tournaments--including The Players Championship in March--when he trailed by five strokes going into the final round.
“I’m probably going to need a little help,” Leonard said.
Lee Westwood rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole and tied Australian Peter O’Malley for the third-round lead in the Volvo Masters at Jerez, Spain.
Westwood also took a one-stroke lead over Colin Montgomerie. The two are in a race to be the European PGA Tour’s top money-winner, a role Montgomerie has held for five years in a row.
Westwood shot a five-under 67 to Montgomerie’s 69.
O’Malley matched Westwood’s 67. The two are 11 under at 205, with Montgomerie at 206 and Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke, the only other player in contention to finish atop the earnings list, two strokes further behind after a 68.
Pat Hurst and Hiromi Kobayashi made 11 consecutive birdies on their way to a tournament-record 14-under-par 58, as the United States LPGA team took a five-point lead after the second round of the Nichirei International at Ina, Japan
Hurst, the Nabisco Dinah Shore winner, and Kobayashi, a Japanese star who plays on the U.S. tour, broke the tournament record of 61 set last year by LPGA teammates Tina Barrett and Michele Redman and JLPGA teammates Akiko Fukushima and Kaori Harada.
The U.S. LPGA pair had 15 birdies, including 11 straight starting with No. 5 on the Tsukuba Country Club course, to beat the Japan LPGA’s Hiromi Takamura and Aiko Takasu by nine strokes in the best-ball match.