Originally created 02/11/01

It's Love by a shot in Buick



SAN DIEGO - Davis Love III didn't get much out of his round of 2-under-par 70 Saturday except the thing that mattered at the end of the day - a one-shot lead in the Buick Invitational.

Defending champion Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and two dozen other players within four shots of the lead.

"Anything can happen," said Love, who was at 14-under 202. "It's going to be an interesting tournament."

Mickelson failed to birdie the two par 5s on the back nine, played his last eight holes in 2 over and had a 71 to lead a group of five players one shot back of Love. They include Mike Weir of Canada and Greg Kraft, who had a 66 on a surprisingly sunny day at Torrey Pines Golf Course.

Woods had a 67 and is two shots out of the lead.

Love and Mickelson each had a chance to put some distance between the rest of the pack, but came back to the field in different manners.

For Mickelson, it was a disaster on the par-4 seventh hole, a double bogey even though he appeared to get a break when his ball got stuck in the branches of a eucalyptus tree instead of disappearing into a gorge.

For Love, he was plagued by poor putting.

NORMAN INTERNATIONAL: Sergio Garcia was penalized two strokes for an incorrect drop Saturday, falling into a tie for the lead with Aaron Baddeley after three rounds of the Greg Norman International in Sydney, Australia.

Garcia's opening tee shot wound up against a pine cone near a tree, with a billboard blocking his path to the green.

After seeking advice from Norman, his playing partner, Garcia took a drop, moving away from the sign. He then parred the hole.

European PGA Tour rules chief John Paramor told Garcia on the next hole that a penalty could be imposed, saying the drop had to be outside a club's length of the nearest point of relief.

Garcia finished the round with a 3-under-par 70, leaving him at 203.

"Of course I'm angry. I was two ahead and now suddenly I'm tied for the lead," Garcia said. "Hopefully, without John Paramor's rules, I'll be able to win. In the rules it doesn't say what he was telling me, but there's a local rule and I'm lucky I wasn't disqualified.

"You can probably ask 500 players and they'll tell you it shouldn't be done that way. ... Greg apologized to me - he's a gentleman and he didn't think it was that way."

Garcia was not disqualified because Paramor was satisfied that the incorrect drop did not provide a significant advantage.

"I feel bad personally, because he asked me for the ruling and I went through the procedure that I thought was correct," Norman said. "Thank God he wasn't disqualified.

"The rules of golf are very complex, but when you're in doubt you should get an official, and I did ask Sergio whether he wanted one."

Norman, who turned 46 Saturday, shot a 71 and was in fourth place at 205, one stroke behind Ian Poulter, who shot a 65.

Augusta pro Charles Howell had a 69 Saturday and is at 203, nine shots off the lead. His previous two scores were 75-68.