Sabbatini takes huge lead into final round

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Sabbatini takes huge lead into final round

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - Rory Sabbatini had a good round with his new putter for a second day, making five birdie putts to shoot a 4-under 66 and take a five-stroke lead in the Honda Classic on Saturday.

The South African, who is seeking his sixth PGA Tour title and first since the 2009 Byron Nelson Championship, will go into the final round at 9-under 201.

Yang Yong-eun, the 2009 Honda Classic champion from South Korea, birdied the last two holes for a 67 and moved into a tie for second with Jerry Kelly (68). Gary Woodland shot a 68 and was fourth, six shots behind.

Sabbatini, who switched to a new putter this week, had the lowest round for the second day in a row after equaling the tournament course record with a 64 on Friday.

“I’ve been putting well all year; I just didn’t feel like I was making anything,’’ he said. “Sometimes just changing the look of things, changing the feel of things, can kind of just spur something.’’

Wind over 15 miles per hour was a factor for the third successive day and players also dealt with occasional light rain. Fourteen players broke par, but the average score for the round was 3 over. With thunderstorms in the forecast for Sunday afternoon, tee times for the final round were moved up.

Given the tough conditions at the PGA National course, Kelly doesn’t consider his five-shot deficit insurmountable.

“It’s catchable in three holes,’’ he said. “You never know what three holes they may be. You’ve just got to play solid, get some birdies, and you never know.’’

Sabbatini said a delay on the course Saturday may have helped him slow down and play even better after he made consecutive birdies on the front nine.

The wait at No. 6 occurred when Kelly, playing two groups ahead of Sabbatini, lodged a shot in a palm tree. A newspaper photographer’s zoom lens was used to identify the ball as Kelly’s, allowing him to avoid being penalized for a lost ball. He escaped with a bogey on the hole.

The inspection took time, so the twosome behind Kelly played through. Meanwhile, Sabbatini and his playing partner, Stanley, waited and wondered how they had caught up with Kelly.

The interruption could have halted Sabbatini’s momentum, but after the long wait he hit an iron 200 yards to 10 feet from the pin, one of his better shots of the day.

“It allowed me to back off a little bit and kind of refocus again,’’ he said. “So I think that was a good thing.’’

Lee Westwood of England, who fell to No. 2 in the rankings this week behind German Martin Kaymer, was tied for 30th at 4 over after shooting 75. And first-round leader Spencer Levin was tied for 16th at 2 over.


AP


Related Korean Article[노컷뉴스]

양용은, ‘혼다 클래식’ 아쉬운 준우승


최종합계 8언더파로 선두와 1타차 단독2위로 마감…9언더파 사바티니, 정상 등극

`바람의 아들` 양용은(39)이 미국프로골프(PGA)투어 `혼다 클래식`(총상금 570만달러)에 아쉬운 준우승을 차지했다.

2년 만에 이 대회 타이틀 탈환에 나섰던 양용은은 7일(한국시간) 미국 플로리다주 팜비치가든스 PGA 내셔널골프장 챔피언스코스(파70.7,158야드)에서 막을 내린 대회 4라운드에서 4타를 줄여 최종합계 8언더파 272타로 단독 2위에 올랐다.

전날 4언더파로 선두와 5타차 공동 2위에 올랐던 양용은은 이날 정교한 아이언샷과 예리한 퍼팅 감각을 앞세워 버디 5개와 보기 1개로 4타를 줄이며 선두 로리 사바티니(남아공)를 맹추격했으나 1타차 단독 2위로 대회를 마쳐야 했다.

2번홀(파4)에서 보기로 출발한 양용은은 이어진 3번홀(파4)에서 버디로 만회한 뒤 6번홀(파4)에서 버디를 추가하며 전반에 1타를 줄였다.


후반들어 파세이브를 이어가던 양용은은 13번홀(파4)에서 버디를 추가하며 선두 사바티티니를 3타차로 타라붙었다.

상승세를 탄 양용은 15번홀(파4)에서 다시 버디를 잡아 14번홀(파4)에서 보기로 1타를 잃은 사바티니를 1타차로 압박하며 역전 우승 가능성을 높였다.

하지만 턱밑까지 추격을 허용한 사바티니가 16번홀(파4)에서 5m짜리 버디 퍼트를 성공시켜 다시 2타차로 격차가 벌어졌다.

마지막 18번홀(5)에서 이글로 역전을 노린 양용은은 핀까지 230m를 남겨놓고 친 회심의 두번째 샷이 그린 주변 벙커로 빠지는 바람에 아쉬움을 남겼다.

끝까지 포기하지 않은 양용은은 벙커에서 친 세번째 샷을 핀 2.5m에 붙인 뒤 버디를 잡으며 마지막까지 선두를 압박했지만 사바티니가 파로 홀을 마무리해 끝내 전세를 뒤집지 못했다.

사바티니는 이로써 지난 2009년 5월 `HP 바이런넬슨 챔피언십` 우승 이후 1년10개월 만에 PGA투어 통산 6승째를 올렸다.

반면, 2009년 2승을 올린 뒤 지난해 무관으로 보냈던 양용은은 지난해 2월 `웨이스트 매니지먼트 피닉스 오픈`에서 3위에 오른 이후 이번에 가장 좋은 성적을 기록했다.

특히 양용은은 올해 출전한 5개 대회에서 세 차례 `톱10` 진입에 성공하는 등 시즌 초반부터 안정된 샷감으로 상승세를 유지하고 있어 조만간 우승 소식을 전할 것으로 기대되고 있다.

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