Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Jimmy Walker leads windy Pebble Beach

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Jimmy Walker had a hot hand in the cold wind Saturday and built a six-shot lead in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Walker made his first bogey of the tournament, and that hardly slowed him. He countered with five birdies in 30 mph gusts at Monterey Peninsula for 4-under 67, leaving him on the verge of his third PGA Tour win this season.

Walker's six-shot lead was the largest through 54 holes at this tournament since Phil Mickelson led by seven in 2005. Mickelson went on to win by four.

"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 had 69 and Hunter Mahan had 72, both at Monterey Peninsula. They were at 208.

Jordan Spieth, tied with Walker going into the third round, had to face Pebble Beach at its fiercest. He was 5 over through 15 holes when the third round was halted by darkness.

The wind was so strong that the third round was delayed for 2 hours, 19 minutes. Trevor Immelman's ball rolled 6 feet away from where he had marked it on the fourth green at Pebble Beach. Officials sprayed water on the greens in a failed attempt to help balls stay on the putting surface.

But the big trouble was the wind. Kevin Chappell's approach to the par-3 fifth sailed over the cliff. The par-5 sixth at Pebble, usually reachable with a long iron, was a true three-shot hole.

On the par-3 ninth, 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 a 4-iron that went about 165 yards.

"It just feels like a battle," Walker said. "You're not battling really anybody else. You're not battling the field or a tournament. You're just out there trying. The golf course is trying to beat you up."

Spieth had two three-putts that sent him tumbling out of contention. On the ninth, he gunned his 12-footer for par about 4 feet by the hole, sent the next one 5 feet by and raised his arms in mock triumph after making the third.

The scoring average at Pebble was just more than 75.

Richard Lee had 72 at Spyglass Hill and was alone in fourth at 209. Mickelson had 71 at Spyglass and was among those eight shots behind.

CHAMPIONS: A day after becoming the ninth player to shoot 60 on the 50-and-over tour, Michael Allen fell out of the lead after playing his first 10 holes in 1 over, but he birdied four of his remaining eight holes for a one-stroke lead over Scott Dunlap and Chien Soon Lu at the Allianz Championship in Boca Raton. Allen shot 3-under 69 on the day and was 15-under 129 overall.

TIGER'S NIECE LEADS: Cheyenne Woods, the 23-year-old niece of Tiger Woods, shot 2-under 71 to take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the Australian Ladies' Masters in Gold Coast. Woods, trying to capture her first professional victory, is at 12-under 207.