Archive for the ‘PGA’ Category

Great night to be a sports fan

Posted: 27/04/2011 in MLB, NBA, NCAAF, NFL, NHL, PGA

Tuesday Night Sports Scene

Tonight was a great night to be a sports fan. Great hockey games, important basketball games and some ugly updates in football.

NHL

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The West’s one seed Vancouver needed 7 games and overtime to beat the defending Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks. Intense and fun game. Alex Burrows scored both Vancouver goals in the 2-1 series deciding overtime win.

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Much to my dismay, the Canadians and goalie Carey Price outlasted Tim Thomas and the Bruins in Montreal 2-1, and forced a game 7 Wednesday night in Boston. Carey Price stopped 31 of 32 Bruin shots to lead the Habs game 6 victory.

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The Flyers scored 4 goals before the Sabres finally got a goal past Brian Boucher 6 minutes into the third period. Boucher is making his case as to why the Flyers and their fans should chose him as their everyday playoff goalie. Ryan Miller just wasn’t good enough in game 7 tonight.

NBA

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Hey Roy Hibbert, you were right, you backed up your talk and won your argument. You guys (Indiana Pacers) didn’t get swept by the Chicago Bulls. However, the Bulls did finish off Hibbert’s Pacers tonight in Chicago in game 5, 116-89 in a beat-down.  Derrick Rose (25) and Luol Deng (24) led the Bulls scoring output as the Bulls await the winner of the Hawks and Magic series in round 2 of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.

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On the brink of elimination, the Orlando Magic survived for another game crushing the Atlanta Hawks 101-76 to force a game 6 in Atlanta on Thursday. The three pointers finally started falling tonight as Jason Richardson (17) and J.J. Reddick (14) led the Magic to victory. Dwight Howard however had only one field goal the entire night and finished with just 8 points and 8 rebounds.

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In a very tight first four games, the Lakers were looking to take advantange of their home court and go up 3-2 on the pesky CP3 led New Orleans Hornets. They did just that steadily beating them 106-90 in game 5. Kobe Bryant’s left ankle held up and even had a posterization of Emeka Okafor just before half time that had tweeters going bananas. Atlanta Falcons star wide-out tweeted: roddywhiteTV Roddy White: “That was a great dunk by kobe he about to go off” Kobe Bryant had 19 points.

NFL

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The NFL went back to work on Tuesday, one day after U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson granted the players an injunction to lift the lockout. A handful of players however reported to team facilities on Tuesday, although many were unable to do much other than walk through the doors.

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Often criticized ex-Tennessee Titan star Albert Haynesworth was indicted Tuesday on a sexual assault charge. The overpaid Redskin (and Coach Mike Shanahan’s favorite Skin’) was indicted by a Washington grand jury on a misdemeanor sexual assault charge. Back on February 11 of this year Haynesworth allegedly caressed the breasts of a waitress at the W hotel.  If Haynesworth is found guilty he could face a fine of $1,000 and up to six months in jail.

NCAA Football

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Bad news for my Gators. Florida sent their star All-Conference cornerback Janoris Jenkins packing on Tuesday. Jenkins was on a short leash after his April 23 arrest for marajuana possession for the second time. New Gator head coach Will Muschamp tweeted: CoachWMuschamp Will Muschamp: After meeting with Janoris Jenkins today, we both felt it was in his best interest to move ahead to the next stage of his career.

MLB

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Andre Ethier made history Tuesday night for the Dodgers. Although Los Angeles is struggling and ended up losing to the Marlins 4-2, Ethier set a major league record for the longest April hitting streak as he hit safely in 23 straight games. Ironically, former Dodger manager Joe Torre previously held the record for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1972 with 22 hits.

PGA

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Tiger Woods’ left leg injury suffered two weeks ago at Augusta National isn’t getting any better. Woods decided to take next week’s tour event in Charlotte off to recuperate his ailing left leg which he has had four separate surgeries on. Woods said on his website that he experienced a “grade-one mild medial collateral ligament sprain to his left knee and a mild strain to his left Achilles tendon while hitting a difficult and awkward second shot” while playing in the round of the Masters.

– Steve

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Mickelson cruises at Houston Open title

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Phil Mickelson poured in five straight birdies Sunday en route to a seven-under 65 and a three-stroke win at the Houston Open.

Mickelson, who will defend his title at the Masters next week, pulled away from Scott Verplank on the back nine on the Tournament Course at Redstone Golf Club. Mickelson finished at 20-under-par 268.

The 40-year-old Mickelson is the last player to win the week before the Masters, then pick up the green jacket at Augusta the following week. He won those back-to-back titles in 2006, when he earned his second Masters title.

“I’m just trying to get my game ready, and it’s not just the ball-striking and short game and putting and so forth,” Mickelson said in a television interview. “I’ve got to maintain my focus throughout the round.

“There were two points out there today on eight and 15, where I just lost focus. I’ve got to keep that for every shot because next week at Augusta, that golf course can be very penalizing.”

With the victory, Mickelson will move to No. 3 in the world, which bumps Tiger Woods out of the top five for the first time 1997, when he was ranked 13th the week before winning his first Masters title.

PGA Tour rookie Chris Kirk closed with a five-under 67 to share second place with Verplank, who shot 68 on Sunday, at minus-17.

Mickelson chipped in for birdie on the first, but stumbled to bogeys on the second and third. He came right back with a five-foot birdie putt on the fourth, but was one behind Verplank, who had three pars and a 13-foot birdie putt on the second.

Verplank extended his lead to two shots with a nine-foot birdie effort on the sixth. Mickelson answered with a six-footer for birdie at No. 7.

The 46-year-old Verplank, who needed to win this week to get into the Masters, responded with an up-and-down birdie on the par-five eighth.

Mickelson caught fire at No. 9. He poured in a 27-footer for birdie there, then tapped in a three-foot birdie try at 10 after Verplank made birdie from nine feet out.

After a seven-footer for birdie on 11, Mickelson was tied for the lead at 17- under. Mickelson drove the green on the par-four 12th and two-putted for birdie, but he remained tied with Verplank, who pitched his second to three feet and knocked that in for birdie on No. 12.

At the par-five 13th, Mickelson chipped his third just inside eight feet and converted that for birdie. Verplank kicked in a three-footer to remain tied for the lead with Mickelson.

Mickelson’s run of five straight birdies ended with a par on the 14th, but he was now alone in the lead as Verplank faltered to a three-putt bogey. Mickelson could have extended his lead to three on the par-five 15th, but three-putted for par from 24 feet.

The par-three 16th proved to be the turning point.

Mickelson drained a five-footer for birdie, while Verplank struggled to a bogey. That gave Mickelson a three-stroke margin with two holes to play.

He parred in to seal his 39th PGA Tour title, which tied him for ninth place with Cary Middlecoff and Tom Watson on the PGA Tour all time wins list.

Winning in Houston was especially emotional for Mickelson, as this is the city where his wife, Amy, and his mother have both been undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

“This has been a special place because we have spent a lot of time here in Houston,” Mickelson admitted in a television interview. “I’m very pleased to play well and be able to spend so much time with all the people that have helped us the last couple of years.”

Verplank was denied his first PGA Tour title since he won the 2007 Byron Nelson Championship and a trip to the Masters, which he could have gotten only with a victory.

Steve Stricker (69) and Aaron Baddeley (71) shared fourth place at 13-under- par 275. Robert Allenby (69) and David Hearn (71) were one stroke further back at minus-12.

– Steve

Mickelson, Verplank tied at Houston Open lead

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Phil Mickelson fired a nine-under 63 Saturday to match the course record and grab a share of the lead after three rounds of the Houston Open.

Mickelson completed 54 holes at 13-under-par 203 and was joined in the lead by Scott Verplank, who carded a five-under 67 on Saturday.

The 63 by Mickelson matched the course record that Adam Scott and Johnson Wagner set in 2008 on the Tournament Course at Redstone Golf Club, and Jimmy Walker tied in the first round on Thursday.

Mickelson, who will defend his title at the Masters next week, is the last player to win the week before the Masters, then pick up the green jacket at Augusta the following week. Mickelson won those back-to-back titles in 2006, when he earned his second Masters title.

Verplank is searching for his first victory since the 2007 Byron Nelson Championship.

Aaron Baddeley and Chris Kirk are one stroke off the lead at minus-12. Baddeley posted a six-under 66 Saturday, while Kirk, the second-round leader, shot a three-under 69 in round three.

Mickelson and Verplank broke through the logjam Saturday that saw six different players earn a share of the lead at one point or another.

It was Mickelson’s bogey-free round that was the story of the day though. After a birdie on the first, he dropped in back-to-back birdie efforts from the third to move to seven-under. He was still three shots behind Kirk at that point.

Mickelson chipped in for par on the par-four sixth and that spurred another run of birdies. After a birdie on the par-five eighth, he made it two in a row when his 22-foot birdie try on the ninth found the bottom of the cup.

“When that chip went in, that really propelled me to play the last 12 holes good,” Mickelson said of his chip on the sixth. “That was probably the shot of the day.”

The 40-year-old dropped his approach shot within eight feet at the 10th and converted that birdie putt to grab a piece of the lead at 10-under.

Mickelson two-putted for birdie on the par-five 13th to join Padraig Harrington atop the leaderboard. Mickelson rolled in a five-foot birdie chance on the 15th to regain the lead by himself.

He was the first to get in the clubhouse at minus-13 thanks to a three-foot birdie putt at the 18th.

“I got off to a great start and was able to maintain the momentum through the round,” Mickelson said in a television interview. “The one thing I’ve really been struggling with is holding my attention on the shot and keeping the picture of the shot and I was able to do that pretty well today.”

Verplank had birdies on the third and fourth. After a birdie on the eighth, he tripped to a bogey on No. 9. Verplank’s round took a turn for the better at the 10th.

The two-time U.S. Ryder Cupper missed the only fairway of his round on No. 10, but he holed his approach shot to move within one of the lead.

Verplank sank a five-footer for birdie on 11 to briefly join Mickelson at 11- under. After Mickelson birdied the 15th, Verplank again tied him atop the leaderboard with a four-foot birdie putt on the 13th.

After four straight pars, Verplank rolled in a five-foot birdie try at the last to grab a share of the third-round lead.

“I played really solid. I did the same yesterday. I think I missed one fairway and one green today, and on a relatively long golf course, that’s pretty good for me,” stated Verplank, who has been battling a wrist injury the last few months.

“The few times I’ve gotten to play in the last four, five months, I’ve actually played well, but the problem is I haven’t been able to go home and practice.”

Defending champion Anthony Kim managed a three-under 69 and finished three rounds tied for fifth with David Hearn at 11-under-par 205. The Canadian fired a six-under 66 on Saturday.

Harrington, a three-time major champion, bogeyed the final three holes to shoot 70 and end in a share of eighth at minus-nine.

– Steve

Snedeker ties Atwal for Wyndham lead

Former champion Brandt Snedeker carded a five-under 65 on Friday to tie Arjun Atwal for the 36-hole lead at the Wyndham Championship.

Atwal, the first-round leader, had a 67 to match Snedeker at 12-under 128.

They shared a one-shot lead over Lucas Glover, Kevin Streelman and John Rollins, who each posted rounds of 65 to finish 36 holes on the Sedgefield course at 11-under 129.

Webb Simpson (64) was another stroke further back at 10-under 130, while Justin Leonard (63), Tim Herron (64) and Boo Weekley (67) were knotted at 131.

Snedeker is guaranteed a spot in the first event of the FedEx Cup playoffs — next week’s Barclays — which is reserved for the top 125 players on the points list.

He entered this week 45th in the standings. The fields for the last three playoff events are pared down weekly until there are only 30 players left for the Tour Championship.

Last year, only seven players ranked outside the top 30 on the points list at the beginning of the playoffs advanced all the way to the finale at the Tour Championship.

A victory this week would make Snedeker a virtual lock to go deep in the playoffs — it would also make him a two-timer at this event. He captured his only PGA Tour win at the 2007 Wyndham Championship when it was played at nearby Forest Oaks.

Snedeker had three birdies and an eagle at the par-five 15th, where he holed out from a greenside bunker. He has dropped only one shot in 36 holes, a closing bogey on Thursday that left him two shots off Atwal’s 18-hole lead.

“I seem to be playing my best golf come this time of year,” said Snedeker. “I don’t know if it’s I’m playing into form or see the finish line at the end of the year. Whatever it is, this time of year I play my best. Just feels comfortable here.”

One player who doesn’t have to worry about making the playoffs is Atwal, whose status on tour ran out when he didn’t make enough money playing on a medical exemption during his first eight starts this year.

Even if Atwal wins, he won’t get to play again until at least the Fall Series of events. He could play in Europe, where he still has status from a 2008 victory, but he would like to play stateside instead.

“I’ve asked for sponsor’s invites in the Fall Series, but I’m not getting any. So I’m going to Monday qualify every week and see how it goes,” he said. “My main goal is to play here.”

Still, Atwal could earn a two-year exemption by capturing his first tour title this week.

He mixed five birdies with two bogeys Friday, one day after matching the course record with a 61 to take the first-round lead.

“Obviously, I didn’t hit it as good as yesterday, but they say that it’s hard to back up a really low number with another one,” said Atwal. “I missed a couple of fairways today … That’s why I made a couple of bogeys. Other than that, I’m pretty happy with the way I played.”

Also on the table this late in the season is a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Among the hopeful players is Glover, who is basically auditioning to become one of Corey Pavin’s four captain’s picks.

Glover missed the cut at last week’s PGA Championship and dropped from No. 8 on the Ryder Cup points list to No. 10. The top eight players earned automatic spots on the team.

Now, the 2009 U.S. Open champion is trying to impress his way onto the team.

“There’s no added pressure,” said Glover. “Obviously, I know what I need to do and that’s play well … but Corey knows how bad I want to play and make the team and to do that, I’ve got to relax and play good golf and work hard and, you know, shoot good scores.”

Anthony Kim was also knocked from an automatic berth after missing the cut at the PGA. He dropped from No. 6 on the points list to No. 9 — last man out.

Not doing himself any favors, Kim missed the cut again this week by going 70-72 to end at two-over 142. He finished five shots above the minus-three cut line.

“I know I put the captain in a tough spot,” Kim said in a Golf Channel interview. “But I’ll get my game into shape the next two weeks and make it an easy decision for him.”

NOTES: Fred Couples skipped a Champions Tour major this week to play on the PGA Tour and missed the cut…2009 Wyndham champion Ryan Moore also missed the cut…So did Mike Weir, who entered the week 126th on the FedEx Cup points list…No. 125 on the list, Michael Letzig is at six-under par through two rounds.

– Stephen (DS LLC.)

Kaymer wins PGA Championship

KOHLER, WI- AUGUST 15: Martin Kaymer poses

Martin Kaymer defeated Bubba Watson in a playoff Sunday to earn his first major title at the 92nd PGA Championship.

Kaymer,  25, bogeyed the final hole of the playoff to win by a stroke at even- par 11. He and Watson were tied at one-under with the last playoff hole to go, but Kaymer’s bogey was one better than Watson’s double.

“It  feels  great,” Kaymer said in  a television interview. “I get goose bumps just talking about it. It’s fantastic.”

The  German did  collect his  first  major and  first  PGA Tour  win, but  the interesting  story happened before the three-hole aggregate playoff because it looked like there would be three players in the extra session.

Dustin  Johnson  was given a two-stroke  penalty after his round for grounding his club in a bunker on the 18th hole and that knocked him out of a playoff at Whistling Straits.

“I don’t know if I can describe it,” Johnson told CBS’ David Feherty. “Walking up  there,  seeing the  shot, never once  did it  cross my mind  it was a sand trap.”

Johnson  held a one-stroke  lead on the 18th tee and pushed his drive into the gallery  on the right.  His ball landed in a small sandy patch and he grounded his club before pulling his shot well left of the green.

He  pitched to  seven feet  and if  he  would have  made it,  he thought  that would’ve  been  for the title.  Johnson missed and thought  he was headed to a playoff with Watson and Kaymer.

“The  only  worse thing  that could’ve happened  is if I  would have made that putt,” Johnson said.

When  Johnson walked off  the green, he was greeted by a PGA official. Johnson and  playing partner  Nick Watney sat in the scorer’s tent for several minutes before  it  was determined that  Johnson was  getting a two-stroke penalty for grounding his club.

“If  it was up to  me, I wouldn’t have thought I was in a bunker, but it’s not up to me,” Johnson said.

“That  was an area that was designed and built as a bunker,” PGA official Mark Wilson said in a television interview.

Johnson ended up with a one-over 73 and missed the playoff by two strokes.

With  the controversy aside, Kaymer and Watson headed to the 10th tee to begin the two-man extra session.

Watson drove into the right rough near the green, but Kaymer found a bunker in the  middle of  the fairway. Kaymer knocked  his second to 40 feet, but Watson played  a  strong pitch  to three  feet. Kaymer two-putted  for par and Watson drained his birdie effort to take a one-stroke lead.

The  par-three 17th was  next for the pair and Watson came up 45 feet short of the  stick with  his tee ball. Kaymer hit  a beautiful shot 12 feet shy of the hole.  Watson lagged  his  birdie try  close  and tapped  in  for par.  Kaymer converted the birdie putt and the two were knotted with one hole to play.

Both  players drove into  the right rough at the 18th. Watson appeared to have the  better  lie and  tried to go  for the  flag. It didn’t  work and his ball landed in a stream well short of the green.

Kaymer  elected to  pitch  out with  his second  after  his opponent’s  watery mistake. He hit his third 15 feet right of the hole.

“My lie was not very good in the rough,” said Kaymer. “I wanted to give myself a chance for par.”

After  Watson took his penalty drop, he knocked his fourth over the green into a bunker. He blasted out and his ball hit the flagstick, but rolled three feet away.

Kaymer  needed  two putts for the  win and he ran  his par putt about two feet past  the cup. Watson kicked in his short double-bogey putt and Kaymer studied his little winning putt.

Kaymer tapped in for the bogey and the win.

“I was very nervous the last three or four holes, but the playoff was strange. I  was  very calm,  very  confident,”  said  Kaymer, who  pocketed  $1,350,000 for the victory.

Watson  was  in search of  his first major  title as well. While disappointed, Watson  can take  comfort that his runner-up  finish was enough to earn one of the eight automatic American Ryder Cup spots.

“That’s all that matters to me,” said Watson. “The win would be great, but the Ryder Cup was most important.”

Kaymer (70) and Watson (68) finished regulation at 11-under 277.

Zach Johnson (70) and Rory McIlroy (72) tied for third at 10-under 278.

Dustin  Johnson was  joined in  a tie  for fifth  by 1995  PGA Champion  Steve Elkington and Jason Dufner, who both had rounds of one-under 71 on Sunday.

Tiger  Woods  had a  one-over 73  and tied  for 28th  at minus-two, while Phil Mickelson  carded  a five-under 67  to vault into a  tie for 12th at six-under 282.

The ending of regulation was a thriller.

Watson was first in at 11-under par after a bogey at the 17th. He sank a five- footer  for  par at the  last, then  waited for the  rest of the contenders to finish.

Zach  Johnson and  Elkington both  couldn’t get  to 11-under,  so up  next was Kaymer,  who  was at that  number. He came  up well short  of the green with a four-iron  and pitched 15  feet right of the hole. Kaymer drilled the par putt to match Watson in the lead.

McIlroy couldn’t make birdie, but Dustin Johnson made his move.

At  the par-five 16th, Johnson went from a bunker right to the left rough, but hit  a beautiful pitch  inches from the hole. He tapped in to get to 11-under, but took the outright lead with a 15-foot birdie putt at No. 17.

Sadly, his tournament ended with the bogey turned triple-bogey at 18.

Camilo  Villegas (68)  and Wen-Chong Liang (73) tied for eighth at eight-under 280. Matt Kuchar (72) and Jason Day (74) shared 10th at minus-seven.

– Stephen (DS LLC.)

Watney cruises into first at Whistling Straits

Watney in front, but PGA is up for grabs

Nick Watney posted a six-under 66 on Saturday to move three clear of the field after the third round of the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.

Watney, a two-time tour winner, bogeyed the last to finish at 13-under 203.

Neither  of  Watney’s two wins  was a major title,  but he finished seventh at this year’s Masters and tied for seventh at the British Open Championship last month.

“At  this point it’s just another golf tournament. I think that’s the best way for me to look at it,” said Watney. “Obviously it’s not, but I just need to go out there and keep doing what I’m doing. I’m playing very well.”

Watney  is  three ahead  of two  men with major  championship history in 2010, Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson, who both had 67s on Saturday.

McIlroy  opened with a first-round leading 63 on Thursday at the British Open, but  shot an 80  in round two. Johnson was the 54-hole leader at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, but a final-round 82 left him tied for eighth.

“I  mean I  definitely have a chance. And  it is nice that it’s come the major right after the last, right after St. Andrews,” said McIlroy, 21.

McIlroy  didn’t have a  three-shot lead with a round to go like Johnson did at Pebble  Beach,  but Johnson  is ready  to be front  and center  on Sunday at a major.

“I  played some  good golf  this  summer and  even after  Pebble Beach,”  said Johnson,  who will  be  in Sunday’s  final pairing  with  Watney. “Instead  of dwelling  on it and letting it affect me, it’s pushed me to work harder, go to the gym a little more, practice some more, to get better.”

 Wen-Chong  Liang established  a new course record at Whistling Straits with an eight-under  64  on Saturday. He  is tied for  fourth place with Martin Kaymer (67) and Jason Day (66) at nine-under 207.

Tiger Woods, a four-time winner who had his worst tournament as a professional last  week, birdied his last two for an even-par 72. He is tied for 31st place at three-under 213, a full 10 shots behind Watney.

“Well,  people have  shot 50s before this year,” joked Woods about his chances on Sunday and the two 59s this year on tour. “Things are starting to solidify, which  is good.  That’s a good thing.  That’s what I’m pleased about. It’s not like I’m working on eight different things. It’s just a couple key things, and it feels a lot better.”

Phil  Mickelson, the 2005 PGA Champion, struggled to a one-over 73 and is tied for 48th at minus-one.

The  tournament is  back on  track after  lengthy fog  delays on  Thursday and Friday. The second round was completed Saturday morning, then, with players in threesomes  off both the first and 10th tees, the third round was completed on time.

The  final threesome featured Watney, second-round leader Matt Kuchar and 2003 U.S. Open winner Jim Furyk.

Watney  wasted  little time  in erasing Kuchar’s  one-stroke advantage. At the first,  Watney drained  a six-foot birdie putt to tie the second-round leader, then went by him with a three-footer for birdie at the par-five second.

He  had  a decent  look at  birdie at the  third, but  missed the putt. Watney parred  four, then  went on  a birdie  run that  gave him  a very  comfortable cushion.

At  the  par-five fifth,  Watney came up  short with his  second and his third rolled  on  to the back  fringe. Watney  ran home the  birdie putt, sank a 20- footer  for birdie  at six and converted  a 10-footer at the seventh for three birdies in a row.

Watney was 12-under par and four shots ahead. He hit three-wood off the eighth tee  and that left  him a long approach. His second came up short and left and all  he could  manage was to pitch  it to eight feet. Watney’s par putt lipped out  of the  hole and the advantage was  two thanks to a Johnson birdie at the 10th.

After  a  spectacular save  from the  right rough at  the ninth, Watney’s next birdie  came  at the par-five 11th.  He drove into  a bunker off the tee, then found  the  rough and muscled  one 20 feet short.  Watney poured in the birdie putt to push the lead to three.

He  saved another great  par from the right rough at 13, but tapped in a short birdie putt at No. 14 to extend the margin to four strokes.

Johnson  and  McIlroy birdied 16  to reach 10-under  par and get within three. Watney answered the challenge. He holed an 18-foot birdie putt at the par-five 16th to move ahead by four again.

At  the  par-three 17th, Watney  hit his  tee ball 35  feet from the flag, but almost made the putt.

“I thought it might catch the hole, and screw in there, but I was very pleased with just — I almost got the line right and that definitely would have been a bonus if it had caught the hole,” said Watney.

Watney  hit into the right rough off the 18th tee and tried to lay up, but put his  second into the  tall grass left of the fairway. With the ball well above his  feet,  Watney punched  one to 40  feet and two-putted  for the bogey that dropped his 54-hole lead to three.

Watney  could  join Graeme  McDowell and Louis  Oosthuizen as first-time major champions  in  2010. He believes he’s  up to the  task, but has a solid mental approach to Sunday.

“I  can only  control what I do,” said  Watney. “And I’m going to go out there tomorrow,  put  the tee in the  ground on No. 1  and just try to focus on that shot.  It’s  going to  be a long  day, it’s going  to be  a tough day, but I’m really looking forward to it.”

Furyk  bogeyed the  18th for a 70. He  is tied for seventh place with 1995 PGA Champion Steve Elkington (67), 2007 Masters winner Zach Johnson (69) and Jason Dufner (69). The group finished at eight-under 208.

Kuchar shot a one-over 73 and fell into a tie for 11th at minus-seven.

– Stephen (DS LLC.)

Kuchar leads by one at suspended PGA

KOHLER, WI- AUGUST 13: Matt Kuchar

Matt Kuchar posted a three-under 69 on Friday to stay  atop  the leaderboard after his  second round of the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.

Kuchar,  the  first-round leader, finished 36  holes at eight-under 136 and is one  stroke ahead of  fellow American Nick Watney, who shot a four-under 68 on Friday.

The  second round  was suspended due to  darkness with half of the field still needing  to finish  the  round.  They will  return  Saturday morning,  weather permitting.

Friday was the second  day in a row that the round was delayed because of fog. The  golfers waited  two hours and 40  minutes to start play. The start of the tournament  was pushed  back  more  than three  hours  Thursday morning,  then eventually suspended due to darkness with 78 players left on the course.

Rain  began  to fall  at Whistling  Straits Friday  afternoon, but play wasn’t stopped until darkness.

The  forecast calls for overnight rain with it possibly carrying into Saturday morning. The plan is for the players to return at 8:00 a.m. (et).

Tiger  Woods,  a  four-time  PGA  Champion, followed  his  worst  start  as  a professional last week at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational with a one-under 71 on Thursday.

Woods’ second round was a little different.

He  made six  pars in the second  round before the horn blew, but Woods’ swing was erratic at best. Woods sprayed his drives all over and missed a three-foot birdie  putt  at the  sixth to  magnify what was  a tough  start to his second round.

Rory  McIlroy  (68), former  Masters champion Zach  Johnson (70), Jason Dufner (66),  Bryce  Molder (67), Dustin  Johnson (68),  Simon Khan (70) and teenager Seung Yul Noh (71) share third place at five-under 139.

Phil  Mickelson,  the 2005  PGA Champion, shot  a three-under 69  and is in at minus-two.

“I just want to be in a position where if I play like I know I can, I can make up  some ground,”  said the  reigning  Masters winner.  “And I  feel like  I’m within striking distance.”

Despite  the fact  that half of the  field still has to finish, it appears the man Mickelson and everyone else will trying to catch is Kuchar, who shares the PGA Tour lead in top-10 finishes this year with eight.

Kuchar took the first-round lead Friday morning when he returned to finish the round.  After a  quick  turnaround, Kuchar  collected  his first  second-round birdie from 12 feet at the par-five second.

At  the par-four  sixth, Kuchar hit a  terrible drive into a hazard and had to take  a penalty drop.  He walked off with a bogey, but stayed in a tie for the lead at five-under par.

Kuchar  took sole possession  of the lead with a short birdie putt at the par- five  11th. One hole  later, he ran home a seven-footer for birdie at the par- three 12th and made it three in a row thanks to a five-footer at 13.

Kuchar  was three  ahead and parred his  last five holes for his spot atop the leaderboard.

“Not  too  much trouble to  report in two  rounds,” said Kuchar. “Just putting well  and staying out of trouble, so I find myself at eight-under par. I had a strong week last week and continued on with a good start to this week.”

Kuchar  has  never won  a major  championship and is  currently seventh on the United  States Ryder  Cup points list. Eight automatic spots will be finalized at the completion of the PGA Championship.

He  burst on to the golf scene with a win at the 1997 U.S. Amateur and a great showing  at  the 1998 Masters as  an amateur. With  his big grin and big game, Kuchar earned two PGA Tour victories, but has not yet lived up to the enormous hype when he turned pro.

“The  game  makes you do  crazy things. And  whether it’s expectations or not, it’s  the game of  golf,” said Kuchar. “I think that’s the beauty of the sport of golf. There’s no guaranteed contract. You have to perform. And it’s a tough game.

“It’s  going by  so fast. I still  find myself feeling almost like a rookie. I still  feel like I’m  the kid from ’97 winning the U.S. Amateur and playing in the Masters in ’98. I still feel like I’m that same kid. It feels like that is just a blink of an eye ago.”

Chad  Campbell posted  his second consecutive two-under 70 on Friday and is in the  clubhouse  at four-under 140.  Martin Laird and Francesco Molinari joined Campbell in a tie for 10th, but have plenty of golf to play in round two.

– Stephen (DS LLC.)