Bridgestone Invitational Round Three: Cink turns back the clock, but weather may rain on his parade
If you thought your eyes were deceiving you Saturday the stats would confirm it: Tiger Woods has lost his way off the tee and on the putting green. Which is why he posted his first four-bogey-in-a-row stretch since he was a callow rookie back in 1996.
Of course his vociferous critics say it’s simply divine retribution for Friday’s lucky finish, which they still regard as unsporting at best. But if you ask me lady luck continues to smile on Tiger. He’s only a shot off the pace and the need to speed things up Sunday means he goes off in the leading group of three. So he gets a chance to stare down another lily-livered Englishman, this time Paul Casey. Think I can guess the outcome of that one.
Stewart Cink’s a somewhat tougher customer, but even he might find it somewhat off-putting. I reckon the weather will also help Tiger by slowing down those fast greens that seemed to cause him such problems Saturday.
A lot of people draw parallels with the last time Cink won here two years ago, because he is again leading into the final round in the week he was picked for the Ryder Cup team. Deja vu, don’t ya just love it! Not really. He was a wire-to-wire winner in 2004 with a five shot advantage going into the final round.
Davis Love’s putting let down an otherwise excellent game Saturday, so damper greens might come to his rescue Sunday too. Mind you the weather is apparently looking so grim at the moment I wonder if we will even finish Sunday. In this kind of situation anything can happen. So I think I’ll stay my punting arm.
A lay of Cink strikes me as the bet to go in with, but his price of more than 5 is uncomfortably high for a last round leader.
Up at the all-but-forgotten Reno-Tahoe Open, however, I fancy reinvesting my winnings on Fredrik Jacobson by opposing Bob Estes. He is up against a hungry Will MacKenzie who has doggedly refused to go away over three rounds.
More interesting, though, is that past results suggest the leaders often end up having a mare on the Sunday and allowing someone from way off the pace to snatch it: Scott Verplank won from 5 behind in 2000, John Cook (now in third place) from 6 behind a year later, and Kirk Triplett from 5 behind in 2003. Hope springs eternal. Now, where’s my umbrella?
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