FLORIDA — Charley Hoffman sank a 70-foot birdie at the final hole to tie Kevin Kisner for the third-round lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational here Saturday.
Hoffman read a big left-to-right break perfectly, his ball curling into the centre of the cup on the same green at Bay Hill in Orlando where Tiger Woods holed so many clutch putts to clinch his eight victories in the event.
Hoffman carded one-under-par 71, while Kisner fired a 68 to tie it up at 11-under 205 with one round left.
The two Americans have a three-shot lead over Englishmen Tyrrell Hatton and Matthew Fitzpatrick and Australian Marc Leishman.
World No. 3 Rory McIlroy (65) soared to the edge of contention, the day’s equal best score lifting the Northern Irishman within five shots of the lead.
Halfway leader Hoffman made a demoralizing start with two straight bogeys, and further bogeys at the 14th and 15th holes left him in danger of falling off the leaderboard.
Co-leader Kisner said he had learned that protecting a lead rarely works against the best players in the world.
McIlroy is among those chasing the leaders Sunday.
“I just played better, holed some putts,” said the man who needs to win next month’s Masters to complete the career Grand Slam of all four major championships.
Nordqvist sets record
Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist set a tournament course record with an Kevin Kisner lines up a putt on the 16th green during the third round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational Golf Tournament at Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Florida, Saturday. — Reuters
11-under 61 Saturday to take a two-stroke lead after the third round of the LPGA Tour’s Founders Cup.
The score also tied her career best round score which she shot in the third round of the Mobile Bay Classic in 2013. The previous best tournament round score was a 62.
Nordqvist, who was born in Eskilstuna outside of Stockholm, said she enjoys playing on the western United States.
“I always say I’m a west coast girl and people remind me I’m from Sweden,” she said.
Nordqvist went out in the afternoon at the Wildfire golf Club and started quickly with a five-under par, 31 on her first nine holes. She played college golf in Arizona so feels at home on this course.
“They always say that home is where the heart is, and my heart is definitely still here,” said Nordqvist. “Even though I live in Florida now, this definitely feels like home. I have family and friends here, or seem like family.”
Nordqvist reached 21-under par 195 and has a two-stroke lead over opening round playing partners, Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand and American Stacy Lewis.
Ariya had three straight birdies on the back nine to finish with a bogey free 66 score.
Lewis recorded seven birdies and one bogey cruising to a six-under par in round three. — Agencies