Originally created 04/29/01

Golf roundup



GREENSBORO, N.C. - Scott Hoch flew some iron shots over the greens at the Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic. But he promised not to misjudge his competition after taking his first 54-hole lead since 1998.

And he warned a trio of non-winners not to misjudge his desire to win again on the PGA Tour.

"If Tiger (Woods) was a shot back I might be a little bit worried," said Hoch, who shot a 5-under-par 67 Saturday to go to 13 under heading into the final round of the $3.5 million event.

Hoch, 45, holds a one-shot lead over Mike Sposa, the second-round leader, Jerry Kelly and David Berganio Jr., all of whom are at 12-under 204 and never have won on the tour.

"They are hungry, but I'm pretty hungry too," said Hoch, who criticized the shorter rough here earlier in the week but has seemingly settled into a nice groove. "They've got something to play for and so do I.

"Whoever wins it it would really be a feather in their cap. Those guys would be achieving something they've been dreaming all their lives about. And at my age I never know how many chances I have to win. In that regard I will have a lot to play for, too."

Hoch followed up a pair of 68s with another solid round to move into position for his first win in three-plus years. His round would have been better, but he three-putted two greens on the back nine for bogeys.

"I had quite a few close birdie putts and was fortunate to make them, but I had a couple of glitches," said Hoch, who missed par putts of 3 feet and 5 feet for his two bogeys.

Sposa, who is the tourney's putting leader, couldn't get much going Saturday and carded a 70, which was the highest among the contenders. Kelly had a 67, Berganio a 68.

Sposa, 31, went to an Elton John concert Saturday night to relax.

"It is probably better for me to be one back, not to sleep on the lead," Sposa said. "I am still in great position.

JONES, BAENA TIED:

It wouldn't be the LPGA without international players all over the leaderboard.

Colombia's Marisa Baena emerged from the pack Saturday with a 6-under 64 for a share of the lead in the Kathy Ireland Championship in Austin, Texas, with American Rosie Jones. Baena and Jones enter Sunday's final round at 9-under 201.

South Korea's Mi Hyun Kim was a stroke back after a 64, and Canada's Lorie Kane was 7 under after a 68.

In a topsy-turvy day on the leaderboard, each of the top four players held at least a share of the lead.

Jones, 41, has held a least a share of the lead since Thursday in trying to become the first American winner on tour this year.

International players have won the first 10 tournaments, the longest streak without an American winner in tour history.

Baena, who won the 1996 NCAA individual championship at the University of Arizona, found her hot streak on the front. She had three consecutive birdies going into the turn, including a chip in from the bunker on No. 8.

Baena twice held sole possession of the lead. The last came with her birdie on No. 16 to get to 9 under before Jones tied it on the same hole about 20 minutes later.

BRUNO'S MEMORIAL:

Gil Morgan matched the course record with a 9-under 63 despite a bogey on the final hole, and Hale Irwin shot a 65 to share the lead in the Bruno's Memorial Classic in Hoover, Ala.

Morgan and Irwin had 14-under 130 totals on the Greystone Golf Club's Founder's Course just south of Birmingham.

Stewart Ginn has two strokes back after a 65, and Tom Kite and Allen Doyle had 67s to finish 11 under.

PORTUGUESE OPEN:

Ireland's Padraig Harrington three-putted from 10 feet on the 17th hole to fall into a five-way tie for the lead in the Portuguese Open.

Harrington shot a 1-under 71 to match Germany's Sven Struver (65), New Zealand's Stephen Scahill (66) and Englishmen David Gilford (69) and Simon Dyson (69) at 11-under 205.

CHUNICHI CROWNS:

Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland shot a 3-under-par 67 Saturday, taking a two-stroke lead entering the final round of the $902,000 Chunichi Crowns in Japan.

Clarke started the round one shot off the pace. He is at 10-under 200, one stroke ahead of Dean Wilson of the United States.

Wilson, one of four leaders after two rounds, shot a 69. He is seeking his second victory in Japan following his title in the Aiful Cup last July.