Simp­son’s late ea­gle gives him lead at Dell tour­na­ment

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Sports - The Associated Press

NORTON, Mass. — The putt is one that Webb Simp­son never prac­tices enough. He wasn’t sure it even re­quired his put­ter.

He worked it to per­fec­tion.

From just over 70 feet away off the green on the

par-5 18th, Simp­son rolled in the ea­gle putt for an

8-un­der 63 to take a oneshot lead Satur­day at the half­way point of the Dell Tech­nolo­gies Cham­pi­onship.

“You just kind of laugh at those be­cause you’re not try­ing to make them, you’re just try­ing to get them close,” Simp­son said. “The grass around the greens is firm enough to where the ball runs pretty smoothly. I didn’t like my lie to chip it. I de­cided to putt it, and it came off re­ally nice, just how I wanted it.”

A gor­geous Satur­day in New Eng­land al­lowed for low scor­ing at the TPC Bos­ton.

Tyrrell Hat­ton of Eng­land had eight birdies with his store-bought put­ter for a

63 and was one shot be­hind, along with Justin Rose (67). Tommy Fleet­wood made it a trio of English­man near the top with his 65, leav­ing him three shots be­hind.

Tiger Woods got into the act, too.

Woods only once came close to bo­gey, mak­ing a

12-foot par putt on the par-3

11th hole, and gave him­self am­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties in his round of 66. It was an im­por­tant day to move for­ward with con­di­tions ripe for scor­ing, though he still was seven shots be­hind Simp­son.

“I’ve got some work to do still,” Woods said. “This is a golf course you can’t sit still on. You have to keep mak­ing birdies. You have to keep get­ting af­ter it. Con­di­tions are go­ing to be like this the rest of the week­end. You’re go­ing to see plenty of birdies out there.”

Simp­son was at 11-un­der

131, worth lit­tle more than pole po­si­tion go­ing into the fi­nal two days be­fore the La­bor Day fin­ish.

Ten play­ers were as­sured of their sea­son end­ing by miss­ing the cut, mean­ing they will not fin­ish among the top 70 to ad­vance to the third event in the FedEx Cup play­offs next week out­side Philadel­phia.

Simp­son, who won The Play­ers Cham­pi­onship in a land­slide in May, is at No. 9 and al­ready as­sured of be­ing among the top 30 in the Tour Cham­pi­onship.

He is more in­ter­ested in do­ing well enough, of­ten enough, to be con­sis­tently among the elite.

“I don’t want to just have a cou­ple of good years and have it go away for two years,” Simp­son said. “There are a few guys that are al­ways top 10 in the world. I want to do that.”

A lot of those guys are still in the hunt at the TPC Bos­ton.

Jor­dan Spi­eth showed signs of get­ting on track, de­spite open­ing with two straight bo­geys. He ran off four birdies in a five-hole stretch af­ter mak­ing the turn, and saved par from a bunker on the other, and had a 67 to be in the large group at five shots be­hind.

Dustin John­son, the world’s No. 1 player, missed sev­eral birdie chances and shot 69. He was six be­hind.

Hat­ton is rid­ing a hot streak with his $149 put­ter that he bought last week be­fore the fi­nal round at Ridge­wood Coun­try Club.

Well, the put­ter his cad­die bought. Hat­ton wanted to shake up his short game, but the equip­ment trucks had al­ready left and he was too em­bar­rassed to be seen in a golf store shop­ping for a new put­ter, even if not many in Para­mus, New Jersey, would have rec­og­nized him.

His cad­die headed to a Golf Gal­axy store, us­ing a video app so Hat­ton could look at the op­tions.

“Ob­vi­ously, he made a good choice,” Hat­ton said.

Du­rant fires 63 for lead: Joe Du­rant ea­gled the par-5

18th for a 7-un­der 63 and a one-stroke lead over Miguel An­gel Jimenez on Satur­day in the PGA Tour Cham­pion’s Shaw Char­ity Clas­sic in Cal­gary, Al­berta.

Du­rant birdied the first four holes on the back nine and bo­geyed the par-4 15th be­fore pulling ahead with the clos­ing ea­gle. The four­time PGA Tour cham­pion won the Chubb Clas­sic in Florida in Fe­bru­ary for his third se­nior ti­tle.

Du­rant had an 11-un­der

129 to­tal.

Amer­i­cans win am­a­teur ti­tle: NCAA cham­pion Jen­nifer Kup­cho and two-time U.S. Women’s Am­a­teur cham­pion Kris­ten Gill­man fin­ished strong Satur­day to lead the United States to a 10-shot vic­tory in the Women’s World Am­a­teur Teach Cham­pi­onship in Kil­dare, Ire­land.

The Amer­i­cans won the Espir­ito Santo Tro­phy for the 14th time. Their last vic­tory was in 1998.

MICHAEL DWYER/AP

Webb Simp­son has a one shot lead at the Dell Tech­nolo­gies Cham­pi­onship at TPC Bos­ton, the sec­ond leg of the PGA Tour play­offs.

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