Tiger Woods started the day one behind Rory Sabbatini with a field of contenders....
Steve Flesch, chasing his third career victory, opened a five shot lead at the Reno-Tahoe Open. Birdies on the last two hole ended his day on a windy day in the slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains. A trio of golfers are at ten under par in second place; tour rookie John Merrick, Australian Steve Allan, and Todd Fischer who's playing on a sponsor's exemption. If the wind doesn't blow a lot of players get right back in to the hunt. If the wind blows like Saturday a par round from Mr. Flesch will make it tough on the chasers to go low enough to catch him. That of course will be the hard part for the leader.
Rory Sabbatini shot two over par 72 to lead Tiger Woods (69) by a single shot heading into the final round of the Bridgestone Invitational. In a rematch of the final pairing at the Wachovia, which was won by Mr. Woods, the pair will be joined by Kenny Perry who may act more as a referee than a contender. Zach Johnson was a victim of the rough at Firestone CC, which has produced the highest scoring leader after three rounds since being added to the World Championship series in 1999, when he dropped six shots in two holes, including an eight which required him to hit three shots to move the ball twenty feet. Ugly. On a course playing this difficult, even the long list of players in fourth place at one over par could have a chance of catching the leaders.
With the complete lack of integrity in other sports, baseball and Barry Bonds confounding commissioner Bud Selig, Shawne Merriman violating the NFL drug policy and still being included on the All Pro team, the entire Tour de France, the NBA's Tom Donaghy golf needs to make a stand. Now. Firmly. By not making some drugs against the rules professional golf condones their use. Unacceptable to me and to those whose achievements would be clouded by this specter. A policy needs to be implemented to allow the sport to maintain its integrity in a world that is losing that value rapidly.
Jim Furyk birdied two of the first three holes Sunday and then knocked his 5 iron tee shot on the fourth hole into the cup from 209 yards away for the lead. He went on to defeat Vijay Singh by a single shot when Mr. Singh's birdie putt to tie on the 18th hole raced five feet by the hole. The difference for the week was the par 3 fourth, which Mr. Furyk played in only 7 strokes over the four days of the tournament while Mr. Singh required 15 shots over the same span. The win was Mr. Furyk's first in the last twenty events he's played and allowed him to become the first repeat champion of the Canadian Open since Jim Ferrier in 1951.
Vijay Singh grabbed the third round lead of the Canadian Open at 12 under par after an up and down round of 68. Friday's co-leaders Steve Allan and John Mallinger both shot 70 and share second at 11 under par, followed closely by Hunter Mahan whose 67 rebounded nicely from Friday's 74 and left him alone in third place at 10 under par. Jim Furyk and Pat Perez are another stroke back at 9 under par. Steven Ames criticized the greens as being to soft and slow for a national championship, while Mr. Singh summed it up nicely saying that the pin placements had to be on slopes instead of the normal flat spots or scoring would be ridiculously low.
Nick Faldo stated golfers are to chummy with one another, thus dulling the competitive desire making them ineffective in winning tournaments. Mr. Faldo feels too many of todays players spend too much time together, unlike his era. As he spoke Seve Ballesteros nodded vigorously in agreement. Considering the two of them won over 100 tournaments and 11 major championships their opinions carry some weight. Mr Faldo alluded to the comfort level todays professional golfer can attain, since one can become a millionaire in six months time today, rather than have to build a brand and thus a future by winning. When two greats like Mr. Faldo and Mr. Ballesteros agree, a group of twenty somethings may want to listen.
The number one golf ball brand in the world recently revamped their premium line, and the mid-level NXT series was next in line for a technological face lift. How does the new model compare to the previous ones, and can it fulfill the needs of serious golfers?
Sergio Garcia leads The Open Championship by three shots after 54 holes. His first 54 hole lead in a major championship. Steve Stricker shot a course record 64 for solo second place. Tiger Woods bopped a women on the noggin and shot 69 to finish eight shots off the pace. Certainly Mr. Garcia is happy to be paired with Mr. Stricker rather than Mr. Woods. His history in that group with Mr. Woods is sorry at best. We'll see if Mr Garcia's adoption of the belly putter can cure his final round putting woes and lead him to the podium as The Open Championship.