Bae opens up four-shot lead at Frys.com Open
NAPA, Calif. — Bae Sang-moon took the lead early and expanded it late Saturday in the Frys.com Open, closing with three big putts for a 7-under 65 and a four-shot lead going into the final round.
The final three holes at Silverado changed everything.
They enabled Matt Kuchar and Brooks Koepka to get back into the hunt, but only briefly because of the great finish by Bae.
The South Korean was on the verge of making a sloppy bogey on the par-5 16th. Leading by two, he went into a hazard, hit a poor chip that barely got onto the fringe and then holed the 15-footer to save par.
With the tee moved forward on No. 17 to make it play about 292 yards to an elevated green, Bae hit drive to just inside 6 feet and holed that for eagle, and then made a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole.
He was at 16-under 200, four shots clear of PGA Tour rookie Zach Blair, who made a late birdie for a 69.
Kuchar hit driver to 5 feet on the 17th for an eagle and shot a 66, putting him in the penultimate group and still with a shot of winning just two weeks after the Ryder Cup.
Koepka had a birdie-birdie-birdie finish — with his power, he only needed a 3-wood on the 17th to reach the green — and shot 67. They were at 11-under 205, along with Scott Langley (69) and Martin Laird (71).
As much as the final few holes provide opportunity, they also can take away.
Hideki Matsuyama of Japan was one shot out of the lead when he pulled his tee shot on the 17th into the trees, and had to play a running chip through the trees and to the back of the green into gnarly rough. He wound up with a bogey, and then dropped another critical shot on the 18th when he drove into a tough spot in the fairway bunker. Instead of staying close to Bae, his bogey-bogey finish dropped him to a 69 and he was six shots behind.
At Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum birdied seven of the first 10 holes and finished with a 6-under 65 to take a three-stroke lead in the LPGA Malaysia.
Phatlum, winless on the LPGA Tour, had a 14-under 199 total at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
Japan’s Ayako Uehara was second after a 69.
South Korea’s So Yeon Ryu, the second-round leader, had double bogeys on Nos. 17 and 18 for a 72 to drop into a tie for third at 10 under with compatriot Chella Choi (68), China’s Shanshan Feng (69) and New Zealand’s Lydia Ko (70).
The 17-year-old Ko can take over the No. 1 ranking from Stacy Lewis if she wins and Lewis ties for 12th or worse. Lewis, the first-round leader after a 65, had a 72 to fall into a tie for 20th at 5 under. She had a double bogey at the par-3 seventh, where she also dropped a shot in the second round.
At Cary, N.C., Kirk Triplett holed out from 143 yards for eagle on the par-4 18th hole to take a two-stroke lead in the Champions Tour’s SAS Championship.
Triplett, the ACE Group Classic winner in February for his third victory on the 50-and-over tour, finished with a bogey-free 9-under 63 to reach 11-under 133 at Prestonwood.
Paul Goydos and Tom Lehman were tied for second. Goydos, the Hawaii Championship winner last month for his first senior title, had a 67. Lehman shot 68.
First-round leader Guy Boros was tied for fourth at 11 under, following a 66 with a 70. Fred Funk also was 11 under after a 64.Boros faltered with bogeys on 14 and 15, while Funk birdied five of the last eight holes. Boros is making his second tour start after turning 50 last month.