Sabbatini leads by four in Nissan Open

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Woods withdrew from the event due to illness.

Rory Sabbatini made a 5-foot birdie on the 18th hole Saturday that allowed him to finish the day the same way he started -- with a four-shot lead in the Nissan Open and in total command of his game.

A forecast for rain gave way to brilliant skies over Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, allowing for the best scoring of the week.

Tiger Woods, despite making the cut on the number, was nowhere to be found. He withdrew with the flu, the first time in his pro career he has left in the middle of the tournament for health reasons.

Fred Couples, a two-time winner of the Nissan Open who dominated at Riviera in the 1990s, overcame his head cold with a 31 on the back nine to shoot 65, leaving him in the last group with a chance to rekindle some of his past glory on the course off Sunset Boulevard.

Sabbatini shot a 67 and was at 14-under 199. Couples was tied with Craig Barlow, who shot 67.

Dean Wilson made the biggest charge with five birdies on his first 11 holes to get within two shots, but then he three-putted two holes in a row -- for double bogey and bogey -- and wound up with 69, seven shots behind.

The ACE Group Classic

Loren Roberts shot a 66 to grab a share of the lead after two rounds of The ACE Group Classic as he attempts to win three straight tournaments on the Champions Tour.

Roberts, Don Pooley and Brad Bryant are tied at 11-under 133, one shot ahead of Rick Karbowski. Pooley and Bryant each birdied No. 18 to finish their rounds at the $1.6-million event at The Club at TwinEagles in Naples, Fla.

Roberts quickly shook off a first-hole bogey with birdies on the next three holes. Even with a three-way tie, Bryant said Roberts remains the favorite to win Sunday.

Karbowski, a tour rookie, sank a 38-foot birdie putt on No. 18 and is in fourth at 10-under. Hale Irwin, a two-time winner, Danny Edwards and first-round leader R.W. Eaks are tied for fifth at 8 under. Eaks said he was not feeling well, and possibly had food poisoning.

Malaysian Open

Thailand's Thammanoon Srirot overtook Welshman David Park to take the lead of a shortened Malaysian Open.

Thammanoon rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt on his first hole of the third round at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club to go to 13-under before play was suspended due to bad weather.

-- The Associated Press

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