Charley Hoffman handled the blustery conditions for a five-shot lead in the Hero World Challenge as Tiger Woods fell 10 shots behind.
The wind was the strongest it has been all week at Albany Golf Club, and it showed in the scores Saturday. Hoffman had a two-under-par 70 that matched the best score of the day, and only three other players broke par.
The wind also took the air out of any hopes that Woods, playing for the first time in 10 months following a fourth back surgery, would get into the mix at his holiday tournament. Instead, he was blown away early and battled late for a 75.
Woods opened with four bogeys in seven holes. He went 11 consecutive holes without hitting a green. He didn’t have a birdie putt on four of the par par-five holes he played. And he didn’t make a birdie until the 14th green, removing his cap to acknowledge the crowd and holding up a finger to indicate his first birdie.
“It’s ridiculous it took me 14 holes to make a birdie,” Woods said. “At that time, I’d already played four par-five holes and nothing happened. Just one of those days. Anything I did right ended up in a bad spot, and then everything I did wrong, it was really bad.”
Hoffman hit his share, sending his tee shot far right into the bushes on a sand dune right of the 10th fairway. He took a penalty drop onto a sandy path and wound up with a double bogey that brought a half-dozen players back into the mix.
But not for long.
Hoffman closed with three birdies over his last five holes, including the 18th hole for the second straight day. That put him at 14-under 202.
Justin Rose, an Albany resident, had a 71 and joined British Open champion Jordan Spieth (72) at nine-under 207.
Jordan Zunic takes three-stroke lead at the Australian PGA Championship
Former New Zealand Open winner Jordan Zunic shot a course record-tying eight-under 64 on Saturday to take a three-stroke lead after three rounds of the Australian PGA Championship.
Zunic needed birdies on his final two holes for a 59, but bogeyed the 17th and double-bogeyed the 18th. The course record was first set at Royal Pines by Australian Rhein Gibson in 2015.
“What two holes? I just think of 16 good holes, that’s all I see in my mind,” Zunic said when asked about his three-over finish. “If you had told me that I was going to have 64 at the start of today, I would have taken it, that’s for sure.”
Zunic, who played the European Challenge Tour this year, twice found bunkers on the 17th, then three-putt the 18th.
“It was a shame what happened on the last two holes, but to be honest, I didn’t even do much wrong,” he said.
In 2013, while playing as an amateur in the United States, the Sydney-based Zunic suffered severe head injuries and blood loss as a passenger in a car crash. He won the New Zealand Open in 2015.
The 25-year-old Zunic, who was at 17-under 199, started the day three strokes behind co-leaders Marc Leishman and Adam Bland, but had seven front-nine birdies to move well into the lead. He had four birdies in a row before his bogey on 17.
Cameron Smith was in second place after a 67 with Bland a further stroke behind after a 71.
Leishman shot 74 and was tied for fourth, seven strokes behind. Masters champion Sergio Garcia, who was six strokes behind at the start of the day, drifted to nine out of the lead after a 70.
Garcia said he’s tired after a year in which he won his first major at the Masters, was married and will become a father early next year.
“I am proud of myself because I feel like I’m going on fumes,” Garcia said. “My head is not as sharp as it should be and I’m making stupid mistakes here and there. But other than that, I feel like I fought hard again today.”
Canadian Mike Weir, the 2003 Masters champion, shot 71 and was at three-under
Officials moved up tee times for Sunday’s final round by three hours attempting to finish the tournament before forecast heavy rain and thunderstorms. The players will go off from two tees, with the last groups off at 8 a.m.
Arjun Atwal and Louis de Jager tied for lead at the Mauritius Open
Arjun Atwal and Louis de Jager are tied for the lead going into the final round of the Mauritius Open.
Atwal had a four-shot lead after the opening round but that was whittled down over the last two days and de Jager’s third-round 67 meant he will go into Sunday alongside Atwal on 13 under overall.
South Africa’s de Jager had four birdies at Heritage Golf Club on Saturday and watched India’s Atwal make a three-putt bogey on the last hole to leave them level.
Atwal last won a tournament on the European Tour in 2008, while de Jager is looking for a first tour title.
They are one shot ahead of Dylan Frittelli (68) and Miguel Tabuena (67). Louis Oosthuizen, the highest-ranked player at the tournament at No. 22, is one of a large bunch of players tied on seven under.
Tom Byrum wins playoff to win PGA Tour Champions’ National Qualifying Tournament
Tom Byrum eagled the first hole of a playoff with Tommy Tolles on Friday to win the PGA Tour Champions’ National Qualifying Tournament at TPC Scottsdale.
A day after tying the tournament record with a 10-under 61, Byrum had a 5-under 65 to match Tolles at 19-under 265 on the Champions Course. Byrum eagled No. 17 for a share of the lead, and won the playoff with a seven-footer. Tolles closed with a 66.
Byrum and Tolles earned full exemptions for next season along with Kent Jones, Tim Petrovic and re-instated amateur Ken Tanigawa. Jones (64) was third at 18 under, and Petrovic (72) and Tanigawa (70) tied for fourth at 17 under.