Woosnam slips up on greens

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Golf

Apart from one moment for each of them, Ian Woosnam and Nick Faldo produced almost flawless golf around the West Course where they have duelled often before. Today's final round of the Volvo PGA Championship has been set up perfectly, although this will be no private tussle.

Faldo is aiming for a fifth PGA title and Woosnam a second, but Darren Clarke and Ernie Els, at least, will be attempting to put their own names on the trophy of the European tour's flagship event. Woosnam, after a 70, led after 54 holes on 11 under by one from Clarke and two from Faldo and Els. The blood pressure has risen recently for Faldo, at least to suffer a nosebleed on the 11th green.

The two senior pros, both in their 39th year, were joined in their inability to come to terms fully with greens that have suffered from too much growth in the early spring, a problem not usually associated with patches of lawn in this country at this time of year.

"Balls are jumping all over the place," said Woosie, who had two good chances in the last three holes to add to his two back-nine birdies slip away. "You hit a putt and it looks in all the way and then turns away at the end. I feel sorry for the greenkeeper."

Faldo, who also returned a 70, was in supreme form, until he reached the greens. His first two birdies were from two-putts at par-five holes, before he coaxed one in from seven feet at the 14th. But he also contrived to miss from two feet for a bogey at the 17th and he escaped a six-six finish only by holing from 45 feet at the last after he had left his first shot in the fairway bunker in the sand.

"The ball was always heading towards the pin," Faldo said of his long game, "and if I can do that again tomorrow and somehow get some freedom with the putter, then we'll see what happens. One of the problems is that the putting green seems to be faster than the greens on the course. You can't get the ball past the hole because you are scared of leaving too many tiddlers coming back."

Woosnam had opened up a three-stroke lead by holing a putt from one tier to another on the third green and also birdieing the fourth. But at the ninth, he overshot the green when he got a flier from the rough, had a chip which came out hot and then took three more to hole out.

The tour's sole representative from Trinidad and Tobago, Stephen Ames, finished at nine under after three-putting the last, but was then docked two-penalty shots for an incident on the 12th green. John Paramor, the tournament director, took Ames into the BBC TV trailer to review the film, which showed that his ball had moved once he had addressed it.

Ames then marked it, and replaced the ball and played it from where it finished. Explained Paramor: "Stephen was not sure whether the ball had moved, but clearly it had moved half an inch. He then did not replace the ball which was a second one-shot penalty."

Clarke matched his 66 of the opening day and but for a 74 on Saturday would be some way in front. "I don't know what happened," he said. "I just got off to a bad start." The 28-year-old Irishman made up for that by birdieing all the first four holes.

His tours of duty are nothing if not adventurous and as well as the seven birdies and an eagle, at the 12th, where he hit a four-iron to three feet, he bogeyed three of the four short holes on the course. "I hit poor iron shots at those holes, although I hit plenty of good iron shots from the fairway at the par-fours."

At times, Els can make the game look beautifully simple. The giant South African, unbeaten in the World Match Play over this course in the last three years, has a method which is reminiscent of Faldo, but harnesses several extra cylinders of power with an ease that the Englishman cannot match.

Birdies at three of the first four holes took him out in 32. Two eagles, including one at the last where he putted from off the green, more than compensated for two dropped shots, even if one was with a sloppy three- putt at the 15th. "The eagle at the last saved my round," Els said of his 67. "I let it slip at the end and I'll need another good round tomorrow."

For a day so blessed with sunshine, the golf was a veritable hotch potch. Frank Nobilo bogeyed the first four holes in a 77, and Colin Montgomerie, less than inspired playing alongside Faldo, shot 76. The Scot barely hit a fairway and it was a round that might have had him saying: "Everything went right. I don't know what's wrong."

VOLVO PGA CHAMPIONSHIP (Wentworth) Third-round scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 205 I Woosnam 67 68 70. 206 D Clarke 66 74 66. 207 E Els (SA) 69 71 67; N Faldo 70 67 70. 209 S Ames (Tri) 70 69 70; D Gilford 67 70 72. 210 D Edlund (Swe) 70 72 68; B Lane 69 72 69; A Cabrera (Arg) 73 67 70. 211 P Walton 69 72 70; E Romero (Arg) 71 70 70. 212 M A Martin (Sp) 70 75 67; D Carter 68 74 70; L Westwood 70 72 70. 213 C Mason 73 71 69; J Sandelin (Swe) 72 71 70; J Robson 71 71 71. 214 C Suneson (Sp) 73 72 69; C Montgomerie 69 69 76. 215 R Chapman 71 75 69; R McFarlane 74 71 70; M Gronberg (Swe) 73 72 70; W Westner (SA) 74 70 71; R Burns 72 71 72. 216 R Goosen (SA) 73 74 69; E Canonica (It) 74 73 69; M A Jimenez (Sp) 75 71 70; M Roe 72 73 71; P Curry 71 74 71; I Garbutt 71 73 72; P O'Malley (Aus) 73 71 72; J M Olazabal (Sp) 72 71 73; V Singh (Fiji) 70 73 73; M Davis 70 73 73; G Emerson 71 70 75; F Nobilo (NZ) 68 71 77. 217 S Torrance 71 75 71; C Rocca (It) 70 76 71; J Haeggman (Swe) 69 76 72; I Pyman 71 73 73; A Oldcorn 72 71 74; T Bjorn (Den) 68 74 75; E Darcy 66 75 76. 218 P Teravainen (US) 74 73 71; N Fasth (Swe) 72 75 71; C Whitelaw (SA) 69 78 71; J Coceres (Arg) 74 72 72; R Rafferty 74 72 72; M Farry (Fr) 68 78 72; J Townsend (US) 74 71 73; G Orr 67 78 73; A Bossert (Switz) 73 70 75; B Langer (Ger) 67 75 76. 219 D Robertson 72 74 73; S Cage 71 75 73; D Borrego (Sp) 70 75 74; P-U Johansson (Swe) 70 75 74; P Hedblom (Swe) 73 71 75; K Eriksson (Swe) 70 71 78. 220 P Broadhurst 72 75 73; I Garrido (Sp) 74 73 73; G Brand Jnr 76 71 73; P Harrington 74 73 73; G Evans 71 75 74; A Cejka (Ger) 74 72 74; A Forsbrand (Swe) 75 70 75. 221 R Allenby (Aus) 73 72 76; D Smyth 71 72 78. 222 M Pinero (Spain) 73 74 75; J Pinero (Sp) 71 71 80. 223 D Higgins 72 75 76; F Roca (It) 76 71 76; R Karlsson (Swe) 67 76 80. 224 B Hughes (Aus) 72 75 77; W Riley (Aus) 72 74 78. 225 K Dickens 73 74 78; J Lomas 73 74 78. 226 G Turner (NZ) 74 73 79. 229 T Charnley 76 71 82.

Comments