Monday March 4, 2013
US duo share the lead but Westwood and Ogilvy are in the frame
PALM BEACH GARDENS (Florida): England’s Lee Westwood and Australian Geoff Ogilvy charged into contention at the US PGA Honda Classic on Saturday but an unheralded pair of Americans clung to the 54-hole lead.
Rookie Luke Guthrie, in only his ninth PGA event, and Michael Thompson each stood on eight-under 202 after the third round of the US$6mil tournament with Westwood and Ogilvy both two strokes off the pace.
“I’m in a pretty good place, I think,” Ogilvy said.
New local resident Westwood, Ogilvy and Thompson each fired a par 70 in the third round, while Guthrie, the 36-hole leader, settled for a 71 in cool and windy conditions.
“It was tricky,” Westwood said. “We didn’t have wind the last two days, so it came as a bit of a surprise. I acclimatised pretty quickly. I played quite nicely.”
World No. 2 Tiger Woods fired a 70 for the third day in a row. The 14-time Major winner birdied two of the first three holes, added another at the eighth, then began the back nine with a bogey and made double bogey at the par-three 17th. Woods was making a charge until finding a bunker at the 10th and missing an eight-foot par putt. At the 190-yard 17th, the player saw his tee shot roll back into the water and he two-putted from 20 feet after a drop to share 32nd.
“I thought realistically 5- or 6-under par would be a good score,” Woods said. “I thought if I posted that, I would be within six or seven shots of the lead going into tomorrow at worst.”
But he acknowledged that he was “probably just not quite driving it as well.”
Westwood, who turns 40 next month, birdied the par-five third but took bogeys at the par-three fifth and two more to close the front nine. He answered with birdies at the 14th and par-three 17th.
Having recently moved to a nearby home has helped Westwood’s victory bid this week, the British citizen said.
“It’s nice to go home and sleep in your own bed and do some of the normal things you do, like take the kids to school,” he said. “I’ve never had the opportunity before. There was never a tournament so close to my home in England.”
Ogilvy, the 2006 US Open champion, has managed only one top-10 tour finish in the past 15 months, a share of ninth at last year’s British Open and won the most recent of his seven PGA crowns in the 2010 season opener. — AFP