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Tiger Woods charging, but Charlie Wi holds firm lead at Pebble Beach
“But the scenario doesn’t change,” Woods said. “The ultimate goal is to win a golf tournament.”
The last two weeks haven’t been too kind to 54-hole leaders, either. Kyle Stanley lost a five-shot lead at Torrey Pines, and Spencer Levin blew a six-shot lead the following week in the Phoenix Open. Both were going for their first PGA Tour win.
Your turn, Charlie.
“I haven’t really thought about that,” Wi said, when asked if it were a blessing or a burden to be in front. “But I enjoy being in the lead. It’s a lot more fun than trying to come from behind. I know that tonight is going to be very exciting, and I’m sure I won’t sleep as well as if I’m in 50th place. But that’s what we play for, and I’m really excited.”
Woods was at 11-under 203, having lost some momentum on the front nine at Pebble by missing a few fairways and hitting some ordinary wedge shots. He closed with seven pars.
Wi is No. 175 in the world, while Duke is at No. 258. They have combined for 304 starts without a win. Right behind them are Woods and Mickelson, who have combined for 18 majors and 110 PGA Tour wins.
“It’s really fun, especially when the big guys are up there,” Duke said. “That’s when everyone is out there watching. If you do perform well and play well, they will be watching you, as well. It’s going to be fun.”
With a short burst of birdies, it looked as though Woods was having a blast.
He rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt on the 14th, and then had a 25-foot putt up the slope on the 15th. One of the amateurs in his group had a similar putt, so Woods was able to look at the break. He learned well, extending his left arm as he often does before the putt drops. And it did.
Woods made good birdie putts from 20 feet on the 17th and 8 feet on the 18th, where he also got a small break. Not wanting to hit driver in the first place because he couldn’t reach in two, he came out of the shot. It looked like it might go out-of-bounds until it hit a CBS spotter and settled behind the bunkers.
Woods made an easy birdie on the par-5 second, but that was hit. He had to save par on the short par-4 fourth from a bunker, and didn’t give himself enough good looks the rest of the way.
No matter. He moved up the leaderboard, higher than he has been in some time on this tour.
By John R. Bolton
The president fiddles at his domestic altar while the world burns
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