Kuchar snares lead at Memorial

Woods

Jay LaPrete

Matt Kuchar thrived in tough conditions that sent Tiger Woods to the worst nine holes of his PGA Tour career Saturday in the morning.

Kuchar survived a nasty combination of swirling wind and fast greens at Muirfield Village for a 2-under 70, giving him a two-shot lead over Kevin Chappell and Kyle Stanley going into the final round.

“It was a bit of survival,” Kuchar said. “I was fortunate to make a handful of birdies. I think anytime you make a birdie in these conditions, you feel like you’re really up on the field here. Most of these holes, you’re looking at just getting out with a par.”

Woods didn’t get away with anything.

Going for his sixth win at the Memorial, and his fourth victory in his last five tournaments, Woods had two double bogeys and a triple bogey on the back nine for a 44, breaking by one shot his highest nine-hole total as a pro. And he shot that without a penalty shot.

He wound up 16 shots out of the lead. Woods will tee off late today, but on the opposite side of the course in the two-tee start because of weather.

The tournament was happy just to complete 54 holes with mid-afternoon storms that avoided Muirfield Village.

Kuchar was at 8-under 208, among 10 players separated by only four shots.

Bill Haas, the 36-hole leader, ran off three straight bogeys late in his round for a 76, and he wasn’t all that upset about it. Haas was still only three shots back, and it wasn’t hard to determine that par was a good score.

Shanshan Feng shot a marvelous 4-under 67 before the wind picked up Saturday and grabbed a three-shot lead after two rounds of the ShopRite Classic in Galloway Township, N.J.

Feng, who last year became the first Chinese player to win an LPGA Tour title and a major event in capturing the LPGA Championship, matched the best score of the day. Using a new set of clubs, she had a 6-under 136 total on the wind-whipped Bay Course at the Stockton Hotel and Golf Club.

First-round co-leader Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand and Haeji Kang of South Korea shared second at 3 under. Jutanugarn had a 73, and Kang shot 69.

Defending champion and second-ranked Stacy Lewis shot a 9-over 80, matching her worst round since the third round of U.S. Women’s Open last year. She fell from third to a tie for 50th.

It has been 13 years since Duffy Waldorf won a tournament.

He could easily end that streak today with one more proficient round.

Waldorf shot a 5-under 67 to take a one-stroke lead after the second round of the Champions Tour’s Principal Charity Classic in Des Moines, Iowa.

Waldorf had an 8-under 136 total. Bart Bryant and Jay Don Blake were tied for second. Bryant had a 64, and Blake shot a 66.

Russ Cochran was 6 under after a 67. Tom Lehman led a group of five at 5-under 139.

The 50-year-old Waldorf is winless in 12 career starts on the 50-and-over tour. He took advantage of calm conditions at the Wakonda Club to post a bogey-free round after opening with a 69 for a share of the first-round lead.

Thomas Pieters of Illinois beat Max Homa with a par on the 20th hole to give Illinois a 3-2 victory over top-seeded California on Saturday in the NCAA golf semifinals in Milton, Ga.

The 15th-seeded Illini will face No. 2 Alabama in the final today, with both seeking their first title.

The Crimson Tide beat host Georgia Tech 3-0-2 on the Capital City Club’s Crabapple Course.

Homa, the tournament individual winner Thursday, three-putted for a bogey on the second extra hole.

Alabama lost to Texas last year in the title match.

California lost after setting an NCAA season record with 11 victories in its last 13 tournaments.

Mikko Ilonen takes a two-shot lead over Sweden’s Alexander Noren into the final round of the Nordea Masters as he seeks to end a six-year winless drought on the European Tour in Stockholm.

The 33-year-old Finn shot a 7-under 65 in wet conditions = to move to an overall 18-under 198 on the Bro Hof Slott course.

The 114th-ranked Ilonen, whose last Tour victory was winning this event in 2007, had back-to-back birdies at Nos. 13 and 14. He then eagled the par-5 15th when his short wedge shot into the green spun back into the hole.

Noren posted an 8-under 64.