Reed in lead, Tiger in hunt
DORAL, Fla. — Patrick Reed turned his game around in four holes Saturday and wound up with a 3-under 69 in much tamer conditions at Doral, giving him a two-shot lead at the Cadillac Championship going into a final round that will prominently feature Tiger Woods for the first time this year.
Reed rolled in a 40-foot eagle putt on No. 8, and started the back nine with consecutive birdies. He drove the green on the par-4 16th for a two-putt birdie and wound up with a two-shot lead over PGA champion Jason Dufner (68) and Hunter Mahan, who bogeyed his last hole for a 71.
Woods delivered the low round of the tournament and his best round of the year.
He made three birdie putts of about 15 feet or longer on the back nine, including a 35-footer down the slope on the par-5 15th, and had a 6-under 66. His goal was to get back to even par for the tournament and hope to be within five shots of the leader.
It turned out much better.
Woods was one of five players who were under par, and he goes into Sunday only three shots behind as he tries to win at Doral for the fifth time. Jamie Donaldson of Wales escaped from the palm trees right of the 18th and made par for a 71 to share fourth place with Woods.
“It was nice to get back in the tournament again,” Woods said.
Reed will be going for his third win in his last 14 starts dating to the Wyndham Championship in August. He was at 4-under 212, the highest score to lead after 54 holes at Doral since a three-way tie at 212 in 1985.
Asked what it would be like to see Woods in a red shirt ahead of him on Sunday, Reed didn’t seem bothered.
“That’s fine. I’ve seen Tiger a lot on the driving range. Never had the opportunity to play with him and I still haven’t been able to play with him,” he said. “Whenever he’s close to the lead, he’s a guy you have to watch out for. But at the same time, I have to go and just play my own game.”
Reed did that beautifully playing with Dustin Johnson, which he said is the reason he had his second 54-hole lead of the year. He earlier won the Humana Challenge.
The lack of big wind certainly helped with scoring and attitudes on Saturday. The average scores was 72.6, compared with 76.0 in the second round, allowing for plenty of movement on the leaderboard on a sunny afternoon in Miami.
“Now it’s playing more like a normal course,” Woods said.
A dozen players were within five shots of the lead going into today.
Dustin Johnson failed to birdie three of the par 5s and chopped up the 14th hole, which featured one shot he hit left-handed. He birdied the last hole for a 73 that put him at even-par 144, along with Miguel Angel Jimenez (69) and Zach Johnson (71).
Jimmy Walker, already a three-time winner this season who is starting to feel like contending is a habit, had a 67 and was in the group five shots behind with Bubba Watson, Graeme McDowell and Matt Kuchar.
“The tournament will not be over until the last putt drops on 18,” Mahan said. “That always happens, but it seems like you just can’t coast in here. You can’t have a big enough lead going into 18 this week. So I don’t think anyone is going to be too bothered if someone gets out to a three- or four-shot lead, because there’s so much golf out there. And there’s so much that can happen — good and bad.”
And it did on Saturday.
Woods made his move early and late, pouring four birdies in eight holes to go out in 33. Looking confident with the putter, he made birdie putts of 15 feet on No. 11, 20 feet on the par-5 20th, and then followed his long birdie putt on the 15th with a bunker shot that narrowly cleared the clip and settled a few feet away for birdie on the 16th.
PUERTO RICO OPEN
RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico — Chesson Hadley took the third-round lead in the Puerto Rico Open, shooting a 5-under 67 in windy conditions at Trump International.
Making his 13th PGA Tour start, the 26-year-old Hadley had four birdies in an early five-hole stretch and also birdied the par-4 14th in wind gusting to 25 mph. He had a 16-under 200 total.
Danny Lee was a stroke back after a 66.
Hadley won twice last year on the Web.com Tour, taking the Rex Hospital Open in his hometown of Raleigh, N.C., and the season-ending Web.com Tour Championship. In Raleigh, he began the final round five strokes behind Lee and rallied to beat the New Zealand player by two strokes with a 64.
Jason Gore and Jonathan Byrd were tied for third at 14 under. Gore shot 66, and Byrd had a 67.
James Driscoll, the second-round leader after matching the tournament record with a 63, had a 75 to drop into a tie for 20th at 9 under.
Rules for posting comments
Comments posted below are from readers. In no way do they represent the view of Oahu Publishing Inc. or this newspaper. This is a public forum.
Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content but the newspaper is under no obligation to do so. Comment posters are solely responsible under the Communications Decency Act for comments posted on this Web site. Oahu Publishing Inc. is not liable for messages from third parties.
IP and email addresses of persons who post are not treated as confidential records and will be disclosed in response to valid legal process.
Do not post:
- Potentially libelous statements or damaging innuendo.
- Obscene, explicit, or racist language.
- Copyrighted materials of any sort without the express permission of the copyright holder.
- Personal attacks, insults or threats.
- The use of another person's real name to disguise your identity.
- Comments unrelated to the story.
If you believe that a commenter has not followed these guidelines, please click the FLAG icon below the comment.