May 16, 2004 in Sports

Control gives Garcia lead

Associated Press
 
Associated PressAssociated Press photo

Sergio Garcia looks on after hitting off the seventh fairway. Garcia missed just one fairway Saturday and hit every green in regulation en route to a 5-under 65.Sergio Garcia looks on after hitting off the seventh fairway. Garcia missed just one fairway Saturday and hit every green in regulation en route to a 5-under 65.
(Full-size photo)

With awesome control from tee to green, Sergio Garcia figured his 5-under 65 should have been a little lower, and his two-shot lead at the Byron Nelson Championship a little larger.

Tiger Woods was so wild it’s a wonder he didn’t shoot higher than 70, and that he’s only three shots behind.

Garcia hit every green in regulation and missed only one fairway on the TPC at Las Colinas in Irving, Texas, taking advantage of another Saturday swoon by Woods to build a two-shot lead over Jerry Kelly.

The 24-year-old Spaniard is playing so well – he hasn’t missed a green since the 13th hole of the second round – that it made no difference nine players were within four shots of the lead.

Asked who was the bigger threat – Woods three behind or Vijay Singh four shots back – Garcia smiled.

“Myself,” he said. “If I don’t beat myself out there, I should be OK.”

Garcia, winless on the PGA Tour the last two years while retooling his swing, was at 11-under 199. It was only the second time on the PGA Tour, and fourth time worldwide, he had had the lead going into the final round. “I feel like I should be leading by quite a lot more,” said Garcia, who missed seven birdie putts inside 15 feet.

Kelly didn’t feel comfortable with the driver, but he at least kept the ball in play during his bogey-free round of 67, putting him in the final group with Garcia. They last played together in the final round of the Masters, where Garcia closed with a 66 to finish third.

Woods didn’t feel comfortable with any club in hand on the tee box, and he paid for it.

For the second week in a row, Woods let a 36-hole lead slip away quickly. He lost the lead with a three-putt bogey on the second hole, and had to play hard – usually from the rough – to stay in range. Woods went the final seven holes without hitting a fairway or making a birdie.

He was at 8-under 202, along with Deanne Pappas, who shot a 66.

Singh, among eight players who had a share of the lead at one point, played the final 10 holes in 2 over and settled for a 68, leaving him in a large group at 203 that included Mark O’Meara (70) and Luke Donald of England. Donald was in the middle of the pack until an eagle-birdie-par finish gave him a 64, the low round of the day.

Ochoa holds onto lead

Lorena Ochoa shot a 5-under 67 to take a one-stroke lead through three rounds of the inaugural LPGA Franklin American Mortgage Championship in Franklin, Tenn.

Ochoa shared a one-stroke lead with Pat Hurst after Friday, and took a big step toward her first victory with a seven-birdie, two-bogey round.

The 2003 rookie of the year, who has 13 top-10 finishes in her short career, is at 12-under 204.

One week after sharing the third-round lead and finishing second, Ochoa started slowly Saturday with bogeys at Nos. 3 and 6. She rebounded with birdies on six of the next nine holes to move into the lead.

Mi Hyun Kim tied the course record with an 8-under 64, her lowest round of the year, and moved into second at 11-under 204. After not making a birdie in the second round, Kim had eight birdies in a bogey-free third round.

Hurst had sole possession of the lead through 11 holes, but made six straight pars before making birdie at No. 18 for a 68 and moving into a tie for second with Kim.

Wendy Ward of Edwall, Wash., (68) was at 206, and Stacy Prammanasudh (68) at 207.

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