Donald Leads Verplank by One Entering Final Round
Luke Donald barely held on to the lead at the Byron Nelson Championship in Irving, Tex.
After a bogey at No. 17, Donald made a par-saving putt on the closing hole yesterday to finish his 11th straight under-par round in the Nelson, a 3-under-par 67 that put him at 10-under 200 with a onestroke lead over Scott Verplank entering the final round.
Donald, finally leading the Nelson after all his sub-par rounds in the event, had consecutive bogeys early to fall behind by two strokes. The Englishman recovered with five birdies in a 10-hole stretch that were enough to put him back ahead.
Verplank (66) grew up in the Dallas area and first met Byron Nelson as a teenager. Now in his 21st Nelson, the 43-year-old Verplank will play in the final group today with a chance to finally win it — in the first Nelson tournament played without its namesake.
Play was stopped midway through the round for a moment of silence in memory of Nelson, and that was followed by a flyover by a squadron of fighter jets. It was the first time the PGA Tour ever had such a stoppage during a tournament.
Nelson, who in 1968 became the first golfer to have a PGA Tour event named after him, died on Sept. 26. He was 94.
Donald had never finished a round leading the Nelson before this year, but has now led two in a row. If he leads after today, he’ll have his third PGA Tour victory. K LPGA TOUR: Lorena Ochoa shot a 9-under 64 to tie Julieta Granada and Silvia Cavalleri for the thirdround lead at the Morelia Championship in Mexico, the Mexican star’s first tournament as the No. 1 player in the world.
A day after falling five strokes be- hind with a 74, the 25-year-old Ochoa had eight birdies, an eagle and a bogey before thousands of fans who cheered her every move on the hilly Tres Marias course — about 175 miles from her native Guadalajara. K EUROPEAN TOUR: Simon Dyson of England, Carlos Rodiles of Spain and Gregory Bourdy of France shared the lead at the Spanish Open in Madrid when darkness suspended play in the third round.
The players were at 9 under, with Bourdy and Rodiles having finished four holes and Dyson five.