Home-town favorite Webb Simpson birdied the 17th hole to break a logjam at the top and seize a one-stroke lead going yesterday’s final round of the Wells Fargo Championship, as Rory McIlroy charged into contention with a 66.
Simpson, who lives near the Quail Hollow golf course at Charlotte, North Carolina, carded a three-under-par 69 for a total of 202 to lead second-placed countrymen Ryan Moore and D.A. Points as he chases his third PGA Tour title.
Northern Irishman McIlroy, who could regain his world No. 1 ranking this week, is tied for fourth with US overnight leader Nick Watney, two shots behind Simpson.
Simpson cautiously greeted the chance to win on his home course, mindful of 10 rivals within five strokes of his lead.
McIlroy blistered his front nine with five birdies, and despite undoing some of the work with a bogey on 16, is well positioned to repeat his 2010 triumph.
AFP, SEVILLE, SPAIN
Gregory Bourdy’s dreams of victory in the Spanish Open ended in dramatic fashion as Simon Dyson moved to the top of the leaderboard with a one-shot lead after the third round on Saturday.
Bourdy had upset predictions to take a one-shot lead at the halfway stage, but on a day hit by strong winds and a two-hour delay because of flooding the Frenchman failed to break 80.
He tumbled down the standings to a share of 21st place, eight shots behind Dyson.
The Englishman, who trailed by a shot overnight, now leads Dane Soren Kjeldsen and Pablo Larrazabal by a shot, but could have secured a more comfortable lead had it not been for a double bogey at the last, which gave him a one-under-par 71.
The reigning Irish Open -champion was in the back bunker for two, failed to get out, and then took three more.
Victory could take the 34-year-old Dyson into a Ryder Cup qualifying position.
Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Justin Rose are already high up in the points race, while Ian Poulter and Paul Casey are also hoping to be in Chicago and Robert Rock is challenging as well.
Larrazabal, joint third at El Prat last May, shot a 69 to take over as the leading home hope in an event celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
The former Open de France winner, who beat Sergio Garcia in a play-off for the BMW International Open in Munich last season, had four birdies in six holes around the turn, but dropped a shot at the last.
Kjeldsen, who went round in 71, won the Andalucian Open on this course three years ago, but that was the 36-year-old’s last European Tour success.
AP, RIO DE JANEIRO
Pornanong Phatlum of Thailand and Karine Icher of France each shot a seven-under 66 in the first round of the LPGA Tour’s Brazil Cup on Saturday.
They each had eight birdies and a bogey in their rounds at the Itanhanga Golf Club in Rio.
American Katie Futcher was a shot behind, and No. 3 Suzann Pettersen of Norway was two shots back at five-under. Paula Creamer and Christina Kim shot 69.
Icher, who finished third at the Mobile Bay Classic last week, said: “It was a good round, a good sensation.”
Pettersen had even-par on the back nine with two birdies and two bogeys.
Taiwan’s Candie Kung shot a five-under 68, and compatriot Amy Hung shot a one-under 72.
Additional reporting by staff writer