Originally created 09/13/98

Friend has lead at Canadian Open



OAKVILLE, Ontario -- Bob Friend didn't flinch when he made bogey on two of the first three holes, and he didn't celebrate when Billy Andrade's mistake on the 18th hole gave him the third-round lead Saturday at the Bell Canadian Open.

The way Friend has been playing this week, it's a wonder he even noticed.

Secure about his game and oblivious to what's going on around him, Friend closed with birdies on three of the last five holes for a 4-under-par 68, giving him a two-stroke lead going into the final round at the Glen Abbey Golf Club.

"I was just trying to do the same thing I did my first two days, which worked out pretty good," said Friend, who is at 12-under 204.

The plan is simple: Pick out a target and pull the trigger. At the end of the round, add up the strokes and see where you stand.

So far, so good.

The three-shot swing at the the 508-yard closing hole -- Andrade made double bogey and Friend got up and down for birdie -- means the 34-year-old will take a lead into the final round for the first time in three years on tour and 71 tournaments.

"If I can continue to be relaxed and not get ahead of myself, there won't be any nerves -- just a target," Friend said.

Andrade hit his drive into the bunker on the 508-yard 18th and had to play a low punch under a tree. He had 158 yards to the hole, but caught his 9-iron thin and grimaced as it caromed off the rocks and into the water.

"I'm not going to let one hole screw this up," said Andrade, who had to settle for a 3-under 69 for 206. "I'm not leading the golf tournament, but I didn't shoot myself out of it. And I'm going to go out there tomorrow fired up."

Hal Sutton, who could sneak into the top 30 on the money list with a victory, shot a 67 and was alone in third at 207. Mike Hulbert was another stroke back, while the group at 209 included Glen Day, who shot a tournament-low 64 in still, soft conditions at the Glen Abbey Golf Club.

"I'm a lot better off than when the day started," Day said.

But he still has some catching up to do. Everyone else might be in the same boat if Friend can stay relaxed for 18 more holes.

"He played a great round. He's tough," said Andrade, a two-time winner on tour but not since 1991.

The son of ex-Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Bob Friend had ample opportunity to stumble Saturday, but he never strayed from his plan of taking it one shot at a time and adding the strokes up at the end of the day.

He made an eagle on No. 5 and stayed in front by holing a 40-foot par putt on No. 9. And when Andrade made a run at the lead, Friend didn't even notice until he had to fill out Andrade's scorecard.

Andrade birdied the 11th, hit a 6-iron to 4 feet for birdie on the par-3 12th and then played a 5-iron off the ridge to 4 feet for eagle on No. 13.

"That was a nice stretch," Friend said.

It also gave Andrade a two-stroke lead, but Friend stayed right on his heels by making a 25-footer for birdie on No. 14, the toughest hole at Glen Abbey.

After two days of brittle conditions and wind gusts of 25 mph, the Abbey showed a different face in the third round. Morning sprinkles, cloud cover and barely a breeze caused the scoring average to drop by nearly two strokes. Of the 75 players who made the cut, 47 broke par.

Joey Sindelar finished off his 65 that put him at 7-under 209, looked back over the lifeless course where Andrade and Friend were must making the turn, and realized he had a lot more work to do.

"This is playing too easy," he said. "You haven't seen anything near the lead yet."

Day's 64 featured a chip-in for eagle on No. 5, two birdie putts over 25 feet and only 22 putts in all.

More tame conditions are in store for Sunday, which could turn into a shootout. Still, only eight players are within six strokes of the lead and none of them have experienced winning lately.

Andrade and Hulbert haven't won since 1991. Sindelar's last victory was in 1990. Sutton, the 1983 PGA champion, last won in 1995 and it's been 10 years for Scott Verplank, who's at 210 with Mike Small.

"On any given Sunday, anything can happen," Andrade said. "Guys you've never heard of can come out and win. Or the leader can go out and tear it up."

Friend wouldn't mind that scenario at all.

DIVOTS: Bob Friend's parents came up to the Toronto area to watch him play, but his mother Patricia sprained her ankle when she tripped on a bridge in the first round and has been watching from the clubhouse. "There won't be a lawsuit," Friend cracked. ... Friend's father gave up Pete Rose's first major-league hit in 1963, a triple. ... Ashley Chinner birdied four of the last six holes for a 66 that left him at 4-under 212 and was the low Canadian going into the final round. A Canadian hasn't won this tournament since Pat Fletcher in 1954. ... Sandy Lyle birdied seven of the first 10 holes, but then played the last eight holes one over for a 66 that left him at 211. The former Masters and British Open champion is 176th on the money list.