Walker seizes control at windy Pebble Beach
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — The wind was so strong, the conditions so demanding, that Jimmy Walker felt like Saturday at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am was competing against the golf course instead of the rest of the field.
Golf's hottest player wound beating them both.
Walker finally made his first bogey of the tournament, and that was only a nuisance. He ran off five birdies at Monterey Peninsula for a 4-under 67, the best score of a blustery day, giving him a six-shot lead going into the final round.
Walker went 187 starts on the PGA Tour without winning. He now has a chance to win for the third time in his last eight tournaments. He won the Frys.com Open last fall about an hour away at CordeValle. He won for the second time this season last month in Honolulu. In both those tournaments, Walker was trailing going into the last day.
This time, he has the largest 54-hole lead at Pebble Beach since Phil Mickelson led by seven in 2005. Mickelson went on to win by four shots.
"I've never had whatever big lead this is going into the last round," Walker said. "Just go out and hit good shots and play good golf and see what happens."
He was at 13-under 202.
Tim Wilkinson of New Zealand had a 69 and Hunter Mahan had a 72, both at Monterey Peninsula. They were at 208.
Havoc happened on Saturday on all three courses, particularly at Pebble Beach.
The third round was not completed because of a delay lasting 2 hours, 19 minutes due to gusts at 30 mph that made golf balls roll off the green, mostly at Pebble Beach. In a three-course rotation, play has to be stopped at all three courses.
The average score at Pebble Beach was just over 75.
Jordan Spieth caught the brunt of it. Tied with Walker going into the third round, Spieth was 5-over through 15 holes when the round was halted by darkness. That included a pair of three-putts on the front nine when he went out in 40, and another three-putt from 18 feet. Spieth missed an 8-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole, and then chose to mark the 5-foot par putt he had coming back.
Walker opened with a 66 at Pebble Beach when it was calm, the best time to play it. That doesn't mean he was off the hook on the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula. He just had to play his best, and he did.
On the par-3 ninth, typically a 6-iron, Walker smashed a 5-wood into the wind and couldn't reach the green. He made one birdie with an 8-iron from 140 yards, and was hitting 4-iron that went only about 165 yards.
At Boca Raton, Fla., Michael Allen birdied four of his last eight holes for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead over Scott Dunlap and Chien Soon Lu in the Allianz Championship at Broken Sound.
A day after becoming the ninth player to shoot a 60 on the Champions Tour, Allen fell out of the lead after playing his first 11 holes in 1 over. He birdied the next two holes to move into a share of the lead and birdied the last two to finish two rounds at 15-under 129.
With calm, warm condition on The Old Course, the field combined for a scoring average of 69.6, the lowest in the eight-year history of the event. Lu shot his second straight 65, and Dunlap followed his opening 63 with a 67. Duffy Waldorf was fourth at 13 under after a 63. He played the front nine in 7-under 29.
Australian Ladies Masters
At Gold Coast, Australia, Cheyenne Woods, Tiger Woods' niece, shot a 2-under 71 to take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the Australian Ladies Masters.
The 23-year-old Woods had a 12-under 207 total at Royal Pines in the event sanctioned by the European and Australian tours. South Africa's Stacey Lee Bregman was second after a 72.
At Johannesburg, South Africa's Thomas Aiken and Justin Walters shared the third-round lead in the Joburg Open at 15 under at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington.