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As Tiger stumbles, Cink grabs slim lead

By TIMES WIRES
Published August 27, 2006


AKRON, Ohio - Stewart Cink kept plugging away with a few clutch pars and enough birdies that he figured would keep him close to the lead. The surprise came when he glanced at a scoreboard and saw the golfers he was chasing Saturday in the Bridgestone Invitational.

It wasn't Tiger Woods.

Before long, it wasn't even Davis Love.

Cink was steady as Woods and Love took turns stumbling on Firestone South, shooting 6-under 64 to take a one-shot lead over Woods, Love and Paul Casey of England in a World Golf Championship that quickly turned into a free-for-all.

"I was a little surprised because it's Tiger Woods and the way he's playing lately," Cink said. "But the way the course is, even the great Tiger Woods can make some bogeys out there."

Did he ever. Woods made four straight bogeys - his longest such streak on the PGA Tour in nearly 10 years - and went from a two-shot lead to five shots behind in a span of six holes. He managed a smile at the end of the third round because Love let everyone back into the tournament by losing a three-shot lead.

"I was lucky to keep myself in the ballgame," Woods said. "Davis had a chance to run away, but the lead is 9 (under), and I'm only one back. So it's a big positive."

Cink has positive vibes, too, especially under these circumstances.

His last tour victory came two years ago at Firestone, a week after he was a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup team. Cink was picked again for the United States on Monday, and he finds himself 18 holes away from another victory.

But there's one big difference this year.

Cink, who is at 9-under 201, had a five-shot lead going into the final round two years ago.

"I've got a lot more of a dogfight on my hands," Cink said. "I don't control my own destiny nearly as much as I did at that time. So it feels quite different. The one thing that is a common thread is I've played well and putted well this week."

RECORD TIED, NOT SET? Yusaku Miyazato's two holes-in-one Friday at the Reno-Tahoe Open may not have been the only time a player has carded two aces in the same round in PGA Tour history.

Tour officials said Friday that the feat was the first in modern history, which they count as post-1970, and that they could not find any record of it ever happening. But tour spokesman Todd S. Budnick said a newspaper reporter in Connecticut contacted tour officials Saturday to tell them it happened in 1955.

"(Friday) we noted that Yusaku Miyazato's two aces in a round were the first ever in modern PGA Tour records (since 1970)," the tour said in a statement. "While that still holds true, thanks to Bruce Berlet of the Hartford Courant, we believe that amateur W.W. "Bill" Whedon accomplished the feat with aces on Nos. 5 and 9 during Round 1 (Sept. 1) of the 1955 Insurance City Open" at Wethersfield Country Club in Wethersfield, Conn.

PGA: Tour veteran Bob Estes says his experience might give him an edge over co-leader Will MacKenzie heading into the final round of the Reno-Tahoe Open in Nevada. Estes, who shot 68, said he is hopeful his four career wins and 18 years on tour give him a bit of an advantage. MacKenzie, who shot his second straight 67 to get to 19-under 197, is still looking for his first tour victory.

CHAMPIONS: Bobby Wadkins and Lonnie Nielsen shared a one-stroke lead going into the final round of The Tradition, the season's final major on the tour. Wadkins shot 71 for 11-under 205 after the first three rounds at the Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club in Aloha, Ore. Wadkins missed a 6-foot par putt on the 18th to drop a stroke, and Nielsen made a 5-foot par putt to finish with 68 and grab a share of the lead.

LPGA: Lorena Ochoa shot 8-under 64 to take a two-shot lead heading into the final round of the Wendy's Championship for Children in Dublin, Ohio. The 24-year-old is trying to win for the third time this year. She stands at 17-under 199 heading into the final round. Her third-round score was one off the competitive-course record at Tartan Fields Golf Club. Jee Young Lee shot 68 and was at 201. Seminole's Brittany Lincicome shot 74 and is tied for 24th at 209

NATIONWIDE: Boo Weekley, seeking his first tour victory, moved to 12-under 204 to retain the lead at the Pete Dye Classic in Bridgeport, W.Va. Weekley wasn't flashy during the third round - posting four birdies and two bogeys - but did what was necessary to carry the lead into the final round.

U.S. AMATEUR: Richie Ramsay overcame his second penalty in two days to win 1-up against Webb Simpson, a Wake Forest junior, in the semifinals at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn. Ramsay plays University of Missouri senior John Kelly in the 36-hole finale today with the chance to become the first player from Scotland to win the U.S. Amateur since Findlay Douglas in 1898. In the other semifinal, Kelly's steady play propelled him to a 2-and-1 victory over Ryan Yip of Canada. By advancing to the final, Kelly and Ramsay earned an invitation to next year's U.S. Open and the Masters.

FUTURES: Elizabeth Stuart of Tampa missed the cut at the Duramed Gettysburg Championship in Gettysburg, Pa., after shooting 79 in the second round. Jin Young Pak leads the tournament at 9-under 135.