Given a puncher’s chance, Ho≠man grabs share of lead
Charley Hoffman would have been happy to get off the 18th hole at Bay Hill with a par and go into the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational within one shot of the lead. With one big putt, Saturday turned out better than he could have imagined.
From trampled grass left of the 18th fairway, a tree slightly in his way, Hoffman chose to punch a 7-iron and have it run down the firm fairway. As long as it didn’t run into the water, he figured he would have a chance for par.
The ball settled 70 feet away on the fringe, and Hoffman made the putt for a birdie, a 1-under -par 71 and a share of the lead with Kevin Kisner in Orlando.
It was quite a wild ride, even by Orlando’s standards.
Kisner, who made three birdies in a four-hole stretch around the turn, wound up three-putting from above the hole on the fringe and shot a 68.
They were at 11-under 205, three shots clear of anyone else, both in position to win the first Arnold Palmer Invitational since the September death of the iconic tournament host.
CHAMPIONS: Steve Stricker shot a 10-under 63 in hot conditions to take a three-stroke lead in the Tucson Conquistadores Classic, putting him in position to win in his PGA Tour Champions debut.
Stricker is trying to become the 19th player to win in his first start on the 50-and-over and first since Miguel Angel Jimenez in the 2014 Greater Gwinnett Championship.
Tom Lehman was second after a 67. First-round leader Fred Couples had a 70 to fall into a tie for third with Kevin Sutherland (65) at 11 under.
LPGA: Anna Nordqvist shot a tournament-record 11-under 61 to take a two-stroke lead over Stacy Lewis and Ariya Jutanugarn into the final round of the Bank of Hope Founders Cup in Phoenix.
Lewis and Jutanugarn each shot 66 playing together for the third straight day.
Playing in record 95-degree heat at Desert Ridge, Nordqvist broke the tournament 54-hole record of 19 under set by Ai Miyazato in 2013.