Sunday, May 11, 2003

Chip-in eagle lands Toms in lead


Kite one ahead of Irwin, Watson

The Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A chip-in for eagle and a brilliant fairway bunker shot enabled David Toms to pull away from the pack Saturday in the Wachovia Championship and take a big step toward his first victory in 20 months.

Toms matched the best score of the tournament with a 6-under 66 to build a five-stroke lead.

Tiger Woods is the only other player this year to lead by as many as five shots after 54 holes. He went on to win at Bay Hill by 11 strokes despite a nasty stomach virus.

Toms, a former PGA champion, was at 11-under 205 and had a big cushion over Kirk Triplett (67), Robert Gamez (71) and J.P. Hayes (72).

Toms admits to getting antsy about winning. It has been 41 tournaments since the last time he held a trophy at the end of four days.

CHAMPIONS TOUR: Tom Kite moved into position for his first professional victory in his home state, shooting a 7-under 65 to take a one-stroke lead in the Kinko's Classic at Austin, Texas.

Kite, a longtime Austin resident and former University of Texas star, had a 10-under 134 total at The Hills, a course he said he hasn't played much in the past 10 years.

Hale Irwin (66) and Tom Watson (69) were a stroke back, and Bruce Lietzke was 8 under after a 67. Jack Nicklaus, the course designer, was six strokes back in a 12th-place tie after a 69.

LPGA TOUR: Rosie Jones birdied three of the last eight holes to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Asahi Ryokuken International in North Augusta, S.C.

Jones, who has led at the end of each round, shot a 3-under 69 on a day when the heat, swirling winds and tough pin placements sent scores soaring at the Mount Vintage Plantation Golf Club.

Jones was at 13-under 203, followed by Laura Diaz at 11 under. Wendy Ward was three strokes behind the leader, and Pat Hurst was four back. Diaz shot a 69, while Ward and Hurst both had a 71.

The top four spots were held by Americans, who are hoping to end a streak of 17 straight LPGA Tour victories by foreign-born players. Meg Mallon was the last U.S. player to win on tour, at the Canadian Women's Open in August.

NICHIREI CUP: Annika Sorenstam is poised to win her last tournament before the PGA Tour's Colonial. The Swedish star shot a 1-under 71 in windy conditions to open a five-stroke lead in Tokyo.

Sorenstam had four birdies and three bogeys on the Tokyo Yomiuri Country Club course to take a 9-under 207 total into the final round.

EUROPEAN TOUR: Stephen Scahill tied the course record with a 7-under-par 65 to share a three-way lead with Paul Casey and Padraig Harrington after the third round of the Benson and Hedges International at Sutton Coldfield, England..




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