Watney Hopes New Orleans Provides a First
Yet another potential first-time PGA Tour winner topped the thirdround leader board at the Classic of New Orleans.
Third-year tour player Nick Watney shot a 4-under-par 68 yesterday to reach 12 under and take a twoshot lead over another player who has been seeking a maiden tour triumph for more than a decade, 38year-old Ken Duke.
Duke shot a 66, the best round of the day in a tournament that has had first-time winners in four of the last five years.
Watney never has entered the final round with the lead.
“I won’t be trying to protect anything,” Watney asserted. “I know that the guys are going to come charging. . . . This is the PGA Tour, so it’s definitely not going to be easy.”
Mark Calcavecchia, who began the day with a one-shot lead, appeared to be bothered by his back and finished with an even-par 72, leaving him tied for third with Scott Gutschewski (67) at 9 under. Gutschewski also is winless on the tour.
Rookie Kyle Reifers (71) was alone in fifth at 8 under. He shot a course-record 64 on Thursday and had a 73 on Friday.
Calcavecchia, who won an event last month, is one of only a few familiar names atop the leader board. His only major hiccup in the third round was a double bogey on the fourth hole. He also had a bogey on the 16th.
The 25-year-old Watney never has finished higher than fifth, which he did twice last year at the Reno-Tahoe Open and Funai Classic. K CHAMPIONS TOUR: Defending champion Jay Haas shot a 3-under 69, giving him a one-stroke lead over Brad Bryant, Wayne Levi and Mark James entering the final round of the Legends of Golf in Savannah, Ga.
Haas, seeking his second victory of the season, was at 7-under 137 after three rounds at the Club at Savannah Harbor. Bryant, who also shot 69, said the 7,087-yard island layout perfectly suits Haas.
“Well, I’d be saying the same thing about Brad if I was one behind him,” Haas said with a laugh. “This is not his first rodeo, by any means.”
Haas, with nine wins on the PGA Tour and seven on the Champions Tour, never has successfully defended a championship.
“It’s there for me if I shoot a good score,” Haas said. “I’ve got to be sharper, though. There are too many good players right behind me.” K EUROPEAN PGA: Scott Hend of Australia shot a 5-under 67 to move within one stroke of leader Raphael Jacquelin of France at the Asian Open in Shanghai.
Jacquelin had four birdies and two bogeys for a 70 and an 11-under 211 through three rounds at the Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club. Sweden’s Joakim Backstrom (68), Denmark’s Soren Kjeldsen (68) and Scotland’s Simon Yates (64) were two shots back.
Nick Watney watches his drive off the sixth tee at the Classic of New Orleans. The third-round leader never has finished higher than fifth in a PGA event.