Westwood, Durant lead soggy Players

Monday, March 28, 2005

Lee Westwood and Joe Durant ordinarily would be in ideal position at The Players Championship, tied for the lead and likely in the last group to tee off Sunday afternoon.

All that got them was rest in what continued to shape up as a bizarre week in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Thirty players who thought they were going to resume the second round Saturday morning instead had to erase their scores and start over so everyone could lift, clean and place their balls in the soggy fairways.

Durant tied the back-nine record with a 30 for a 7-under 65, while Westwood overcame a double bogey early in his round for a 69 that left them atop the leaderboard when darkness suspended the second round.

Seventy-one players, including Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, were expected to return at 7:30 a.m. today to finish the second round. That all but assured the third Monday finish in The Players Championship in the last six years, and that's assuming more rain doesn't push it to Tuesday.

Westwood and Durant get to sleep in, knowing that their two-day score of 10-under 134 will put them in good shape. Zach Johnson made two double bogeys, including a tee shot into the water on the 18th hole, for a 2-under 70 that left him one shot behind.

Others who finished were defending champion Adam Scott (68) and Fred Funk (72), who were at 7-under 137. Steve Jones, who opened with a 64 and then waited 50 hours before hitting another shot, also was at 10 under halfway through his second round.

LPGA Tour

Annika Sorenstam all but wrapped up the first major of the year Saturday, shooting a flawless 6-under 66 in the third round to take a commanding five-shot lead over Rosie Jones in the Nabisco Championship in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

In her relentless quest to both win her first major of the year and enter the LPGA Tour record books once again with her fifth straight tournament win, Sorenstam birdied four holes on the front nine and two on the back to shoot the lowest score of the week on the Mission Hills Country Club course.

Jones, in her final year on tour, birdied the final hole to shoot a 71 and inch a shot closer, but the only other players closer than 10 shots off the lead were Mi-Hyun Kim and Cristie Kerr at seven shots back.

Assuming Sorenstam wins Sunday she will tie the record set by Nancy Lopez in 1978 of winning five consecutive events she played in. A win would not only give Sorenstam a start toward doing something no other female golfer has ever done -- win all four majors in one year -- but would be the 59th of her LPGA Tour career.

Indonesia Open

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) -- Frankie Minoza was 8 under through 14 holes in the rain-suspended third round of the Indonesia Open, leaving the 45-year-old Filipino star just a stroke out of the lead and in position to take a run at a 59.

Minoza, the 1986 and 1990 winner, needs to play the final four holes in 3 under Sunday morning to become the first player to break 60 on the PGA European Tour and Asian Tour. However, a sub-60 round would not count in the record books because players were allowed to lift, clean and place their balls in the fairways.

Minoza chipped in from 30 yards for an eagle on the par-5 ninth and also had eight birdies and a bogey to reach 14 under. Thailand's Thaworn Wiratchant was the leader at 15 under with nine holes remaining in his third round. Thailand's Jaidee Thongchai, Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts and Singapore's Mardan Mamat joined Minoza at 14 under. Jaidee finished 11 holes, and Colsaerts and Mamat played nine.

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