Mon, Jan 19, 2009 - Page 20 News List

Former Masters champ Johnson seizes PGA lead

AFP , HONOLULU, HAWAII

Zach Johnson, the 2007 Masters winner, fired a bogey-free four-under par 66 on Saturday to seize a one-stroke lead after the third round of the US$5.4 million US PGA Sony Open.

Johnson had three birdies on the front nine and added another at the 12th to finish 54 holes on 10-under-par 200, one stroke ahead of Americans David Toms and Brian Gay, Australian Nathan Green and Japan’s Shigeki Maruyama.

“I had a lot of birdie opportunities,” Johnson said. “I didn’t hit it tight but I gave myself chances, and then I only managed to make one putt on the back.”

Toms fired a 65 on the Waialae Country Club course while Maruyama and Gay each shot 68 and Green fired a 69 in the first full-field event of this year’s season.

High school senior Tadd Fujikawa excited his hometown supporters with an eight-under par 62, leaving the 18-year-old in a share of sixth on 202 with fellow Americans Boo Weekley, George McNeill and Charles Howell.

The Hawaiian teen opened with three birdies and answered a bogey at the fourth with two more birdies on the front nine, the last at the ninth to start another run of three in a row. He also finished with back-to-back birdies.

“Eight-under anywhere is really good,” Johnson said. “But Saturday in a tour event, especially in your own backyard, that’s not easy to do. He’s a talent, borderline phenom, considering where he’s doing and how he’s doing it.”

Standing on 203 were Aussies Adam Scott and Geoff Ogilvy, who won last week’s season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship, and American Kevin Na.

■ABU DHABI

AFP, ABU DHABI

Newly married Paul Casey shot a blistering nine-under-par round of 63 to grab a four-shot lead going into the final day of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship on Saturday.

The 31-year-old Englishman played flawless golf in a round that contained nine birdies to take his three-day tally to 19-under-par 197. Defending champion Martin Kaymer was his nearest rival after the German shot a seven-under 65 to move to second place at 201.

Third-round co-leader Graeme Storm of England was one behind Kaymer at 202 following a round of 69, while Anthony Wall, also of England, shot a similar number to be sole fourth at 203.

World No. 2 Sergio Garcia moved up to a tied 20th place with a 67 while No. 4 Padraig Harrington was tied eighth at 204 after a third-round 68.

Kaymer started with six straight pars before making a birdie on the seventh and an eagle on the eighth. On the back nine, he made four more birdies.

“I saw Paul playing at our club in Arizona and I thought he looked really solid. So, it is good to see him playing so well,” he said. “I think I will have to see how I am playing, and how he is playing, over the first few holes before making any strategy of being aggressive.”

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