Tiger flirts with 59, settles for 7-shot lead


First Posted: 8/2/2013

AKRON, Ohio — Tiger Woods had a shot at making history with a magical 59.

He swore he wasn’t disappointed to come up short.

“Disappointed? Absolutely not,” he said.

Then he cracked, “A 61’s pretty good. I’m not bummed.”

Woods could console himself by tying his career best and building a seven-shot lead Friday through 36 holes at the Bridgestone Invitational.

Pursuing his eighth victory at Firestone Country Club, Woods opened birdie-eagle — stuffing an approach to 3 feet at the first hole and holing a 20-footer for 3 at the par-5 second. He had two more birdies on the front nine, and had four in a row to start the back nine in a light rain.

Needing to go only 2 under over his last five holes, he missed birdie putts inside 10 feet at 15 and 17. He saved par on the last with a 25-footer after an errant drive and a shot that hit into the trees and ended up in a bare spot short and right of the green.

The 61 — matching his career best at the 1999 Byron Nelson, 2005 Buick Open and on the same Firestone course back in 2000 — left him at 13-under 127.

Defending champion Keegan Bradley and Chris Wood, playing the tournament for the first time, were tied for second. They each shot 68.

WOMEN’S BRITISH OPEN

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — Before she can think of four in a row, Inbee Park first has to make up an eight-shot deficit at the Women’s British Open.

Playing in the strongest wind this week, she had a pair of three-putt bogeys in a round of 1-over 73 that left her closer to the cut line than the lead. The 25-year-old South Korean is trying to become the first golfer to win four professional majors in one year.

Those rugged afternoon conditions were no problem for Na Yeon Choi. The South Korean had a 5-under 67 — nearly nine shots lower than the field average for the afternoon — and had a one-shot lead over Miki Saiki of Japan. Saiki set the Old Course record for the Women’s British Open at 6-under 66 in the morning, which featured bursts of showers but very little wind until late in the round.

Choi was at 10-under 134.

Wiebe leads 3M Championship

BLAINE, Minn. — Mark Wiebe followed his Senior British Open playoff victory with an 8-under 64 on Friday in the 3M Championship to take a one-stroke lead over Kenny Perry and Corey Pavin.

Four days after beating Bernhard Langer on the fifth extra hole in a Monday finish at Royal Birkdale, Wiebe had eight birdies in a bogey-free first round at TPC Twin Cities. He birdied five of the last seven holes on the front nine and added birdies on Nos. 12, 14 and 16.

Perry is making his first since winning the Senior Players Championship and U.S. Senior Open in consecutive starts for his first major victories. He skipped the Senior British Open because of a family commitment.

WESTERN AMATUER

ROLAND, Ark. — Stanford’s Patrick Rodgers topped the 16 match-play qualifiers in the 111th Western Amateur, shooting a 3-under 69 at The Alotian Club for a record 18-under 270 total.

Rodgers, from Avon, Ind., opened stroke-play qualifying with rounds of 66, 68 and 66.

Carlos Ortiz, a North Texas graduate from Mexico, was second at 15 under after a 67. U.S. Public Links champion Jordan Niebrugge, an Oklahoma State player from Mequon, Wis., followed at 11 under after a 72.

JUNIOR PGA CHAMPIONSHIP

POTOMAC FALLS, Va. — Tyler McDaniel birdied the final two holes to win the Junior PGA Championship, and Amy Lee closed with a 15-foot par putt to top the girls’ division.

The 17-year-old McDaniel, from Manchester, Ky., shot a 2-under 69 to finish at 10-under 274 at Trump National Golf Club – Washington, D.C. He won the Jack Nicklaus Trophy.

Sam Burns of Shreveport, La., had a 67 to finish a shot back.

The 16-year-old Lee, from Brea, Calif., also finished with a 69 for a 5-under 279 total. She won the Patty Berg Trophy. Abbey Carlson of Lake Mary, Fla., shot a 71 to finish a stroke back

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