Friday, March 6, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Na takes a 1-shot lead at Players Championship

By
From page B4 | May 13, 2012 |

Nick Watney watches his shot from the fifth fairway during the third round of the Players Championship golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass, Saturday, May 12, 2012, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Nick Watney watches his shot from the fifth fairway during the third round of the Players Championship golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass, Saturday, May 12, 2012, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

By Doug Ferguson

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Kevin Na didn’t feel comfortable about anything Saturday except his name atop the leaderboard at The Players Championship.

Na rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole for one of only three rounds without a bogey on a tough day at the TPC Sawgrass. It gave him a 4-under 68 and a one-shot lead over Matt Kuchar as he goes after the richest prize on the PGA Tour — a five-year exemption and a spot in all the majors.

For all his practice swings and waggles, even purposely missing the ball so he could start over, Na pieced together a brilliant round free of bogeys. He finished with two birdies on the last three holes to build a one-shot lead over Matt Kuchar, who hit into the water at the island-green 17th and had to settle for a 69.

Rickie Fowler, coming off his first PGA Tour win last week at Quail Hollow, was dynamic as ever as he shot up the leaderboard. Fowler didn’t make a bogey until the last hole but still had the best score of the third round with a 66 and was two shots behind.

He is trying to become the first player since David Duval in 1997 to win his first two PGA Tour titles in consecutive weeks.

Texas Open champion Ben Curtis also played bogey-free. He just didn’t have as many birdies, missing from inside 10 feet on his last two holes for a 70. He was five shots behind, along with former Masters champion Zach Johnson (73).
Nick Watney, a Davis High graduate, struggled Saturday and carded a 76.

Tiger Woods never came close to getting into contention, though he gave himself plenty of chances. The card shows two birdies, two bogeys and a 72 that left him 10 shots out of the lead going into the final round. It was hard for him to digest.

“I played well today and didn’t get anything out of that round,” Woods said. “It was probably the most solid I’ve hit the golf ball all year, actually. Even though I hit a couple off line, they were just hit dead flush. I just got nothing out of the round.”

Kuchar went eight consecutive holes without a par — six birdies and two bogeys — to seize control on a windy day at Sawgrass. But he slightly missed on his tee shot at the par-3 17th and never came close to land. He did well to hit his third shot from the drop area to 5 feet to escape with bogey.

“It was exciting,” Kuchar said. “A lot of birdies and a lot more bogeys than I normally make. But I knew today was going to be a tricky day. I knew there were going to be a lot of bogeys. I knew there were dangers around every corner.”

Na managed to avoid them, and now tries to become the first 54-hole leader to win The Players Championship since the tournament moved to May.

“I know how to play under pressure,” Na said. “I’ve won before. I’ve been in situations like this. I’ve got to take everything I’ve learned and do my best.”

He was at 12-under 204.

Na is considered among the slowest players in golf, and he was given a bad time on the 16th hole for being on the clock and taking too long to hit his shot. One more bad time and he would have become the first PGA Tour player in 20 years to be given a one-shot penalty.

He was informed of his bad time walking to the 17th green and appealed because he said his caddie’s shadow was in the way. He lost the appeal. Na said he no longer was on the clock for the last two holes. On the 18th, he drilled his tee shot into the fairway after only three waggles. Then, he backed off only once and hit his approach to 15 feet for his last birdie.

Na said he is changing his swing and still struggles with balance, making it hard for him to get comfortable over the ball. He knows the world is watching, and he realizes it makes for painful viewing from living rooms and behind the ropes.

“I know it’s frustrating,” he said. “It’s frustrating for me. I want to pull the trigger. … It’s getting better little by little. Hopefully, it will go away by the end of the year.”

The first step is getting through Sunday.

Kuchar, who also challenged at the Masters, is getting by with control of his driver and his emotions. Even on a poor tee shot at the 14th, the worst Kuchar could say was, “Oh, stinker!” What cost him more was a ball sinking to the bottom of the pond at the 17th, though Kuchar can’t argue with his position in the last group Sunday.

Fowler still sees himself as an underdog, even though he broke through last week at Quail Hollow to win in a playoff that included Rory McIlroy. The last player to win consecutive weeks on tour was Woods in 2009. Woods, Tom Kite in 1989 and Raymond Floyd in 1981 are the only players to make that second straight win The Players Championship. Fowler figured no one gave him much of a chance.

That might change now.

“I feel like I’m in kind of an underdog position — maybe overlooked at the start of the week, won last week, maybe a little tired,” Fowler said. “I’m ready to go. Like I said last week, it’s all about giving yourself chances out here, and I gave myself a chance last week on Sunday and took advantage of it. Go out tomorrow, have some fun, give it our best shot and see where that puts us.”

Woods’ chances effectively ended just before the turn. He missed a 6-foot birdie on No. 6 and three-putted No. 7 from 12 feet. He missed a 7-foot birdie putt on the par-3 eighth, and a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-5 ninth. And then, he bogeyed the 10th.

“I figured if I shot 67, 68, something in that range, I would be right in the ball game going into tomorrow,” Woods said. “This golf course is set up today where you can go out there and shoot a 65, but then again, you can also go shoot something in the 80s pretty easily, too.”

George McNeill shot 82, the only round in the 80s, though there were some big wrecks.

Harris English, one shot out of the lead in his Players Championship debut, hit an opening drive that bloodied a marshal. He made bogey, then took a triple bogey on the par-5 second and a double bogey on the fifth for a 42 on the front nine. He shot 79 and was 12 shots behind. Charlie Wi was hanging around the contenders until he ended his day with a four-putt double bogey on the 18th, leaving him seven shots back.

Phil Mickelson, trying to cap off a week that began with his induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame, had a 70 that have him an outside shot at 4-under 212.

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

.

News

Bay Area developers join Mace proposal

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

 
Trial ordered in Davis child death case

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

‘Topping out': Sign a building beam at the Shrem Museum

By Jeffrey Day | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Life after lawn: Fifty greens for shade

By Katie F. Hetrick | From Page: A1 | Gallery

UCD police warn of sexual battery incident

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Bob Dunning: There’s an exception to every rule

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

Ukraine declares heavy weapons pullback from front line

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
NASA craft circling Ceres in first visit to dwarf planet

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

CHP car hit with bullet on highway

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Got sun? Indoor herbs can thrive on windowsills

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

How can we know that the products we buy for our homes are safe?

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Quick home improvements that raise your resale value

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Spring-clean your kitchen in five easy steps

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Peripheral neuropathy support offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6

Workshop eyes creating peace through creative play

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6

 
Museum brick sales to end this month

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6

 
Cabrillo Club plans membership dinner

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6

Dryers: Homes’ energy guzzlers just got greener

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Need a new best friend?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6 | Gallery

UCD improving farming, food production with fewer pesticides

By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: B6 | Gallery

 
PSAs highlight area nonprofits

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

Waldorf’s spring tea party doubles as open house

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Register online for Woodland rec classes

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Older adults will discuss conscious aging movement

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7Comments are off for this post

 
St. John’s shows off cuisine at brunch

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

 
Seniors serious about fitness

By Savannah Holmes | From Page: A11 | Gallery

Pig out at Pig Day Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Porkers on display at Hattie Weber Museum

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

.

Forum

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

 
Some convicts don’t deserve parole hearings

By Tom Elias | From Page: B4

Here’s how to make college cheaper

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

 
Obama’s world is a dangerous place

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

Dirty laundry on the company line

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B9

 
.

Sports

DHS girls track and field team reloads for 2015

By Dylan Lee | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
UCD women fall at UCR

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Aggie men clinch Big West crown

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Marsh provides radio images of a ‘magical’ Aggie hoops season

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Blue Devil volleyballers cruise in home opener

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Sports briefs: Bella Vista slips past DHS softballers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12

.

Features

 
Rec Report: Looking ahead to spring break

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

What’s happening

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B5

 
Wineaux: A local diamond in the rough, revisited

By Susan Leonardi | From Page: A9

.

Arts

Tables available at Vinyl and Music Fair

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

 
Steve Kiser’s work on display at Gallery 1855

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

‘The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel': Second-rate

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Learn from experts at ‘Art of Painting’ conference

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12 | Gallery

Tom Brousseau to visit ‘Live in the Loam’ on KDRT

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

 
‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ auditions set

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

Hugh Masekela and Vusi Mahlasela celebrate Mandela’s legacy

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Honey, we shrank the SUV — and Europe loves it

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, March 6, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B10