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Slick greens wreak havoc on scorecards

Sergio Garcia hits his second shot on No. 5 on his way to shooting 2-under 69.

Associated Press

Sergio Garcia hits his second shot on No. 5 on his way to shooting 2-under 69.

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — Bethpage Black lived up its reputation Saturday because of the greens, which in some cases looked brown.

Sergio Garcia called them the fastest putting surfaces he could recall. Nick Watney referred to them as extreme. More than one player suggested the course was unplayable in The Barclays, certainly late in the afternoon as the sun baked the public course on Long Island.

And there were references to Shinnecock Hills, the private club on Long Island where the greens were out of control on the last day of the 2004 U.S. Open.

Saturday, Garcia managed them just fine.

With no bogeys in his final eight holes, he turned a three-shot deficit into a two-shot lead over Nick Watney with 2-under 69. Such were the conditions that Garcia was the only player in the final 18 to break 70.

"The course is extremely firm," he said. "The greens, just probably some of the fastest greens I've ever played. Just one of those days where you knew it was going to be tough and you have to hold on very tight, and just kind of hope for the best."

He was at 10-under 203, and only four players were within four shots. Watney, who made five putts of more than 15 feet, went after another on No. 18 but the ball raced 10 feet past, and he missed the putt coming back for a three-putt. That gave him par 71.

Tiger Woods times on the front nine alone. He did it again on No. 14 and his 72 that put him six shots behind.

"I don't remember blowing putts by 8 to 10 feet," he said. "So that was a bit of a shocker."

Kevin Stadler played early, when the greens still had some moisture, shot 65 with no bogeys and was alone in third, three shots back. Phil Mickelson was at a large group at 4-under 209 that included Woods, Louis Oosthuizen, Lee Westwood and Charl Schwartzel.

RYDER CUP: European captain Jose Maria Olazabal chose fellow Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez as his fourth and final vice-captain. Jimenez joins Paul McGinley, Darren Clarke and Thomas Bjorn for Europe's defense, Sept. 28-30 in Chicago.

LPGA: Lydia Ko, 15, trying to become the youngest winner in tour history, led by one at the Canadian Women's Open in Coquitlam, British Columbia. She shot par 72 and was at 8-under 208. Lexi Thompson won the Navistar LPGA Classic last September at 16. Chella Choi, Stacy Lewis, Inbee Park and Jiyai Shin were tied for second. Defending champ Brittany Lincicome (70) of Seminole was at 1 under and Tampa's Cindy LaCrosse (72) was 1 over.

CHAMPIONS: Tom Jenkins holed out for eagle on the par-4 No. 3 and shot bogey-free 7-under 65 for a three-shot lead at the Boeing Classic in Snoqualmie, Wash. Jenkins, 64, is trying to become the oldest winner in the 50-and-over tour's history. Mike Fetchick was 63 when he won the 1985 Hilton Head Seniors Invitational.

LOCAL LEADS: St. Petersburg native and Gulf High graduate Darron Stiles (5-under 66) led the Tour News Sentinel Open by a shot at 199 after three rounds in Knoxville, Tenn.

Slick greens wreak havoc on scorecards 08/25/12 [Last modified: Saturday, August 25, 2012 9:49pm]
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