Watson ties course mark, Spieth 4 shots off

Bubba Watson takes a two-shot lead after the third round at the Hero World Challenge. However, he has won only twice out of nine times when he has the lead or share of the lead on the PGA Tour after 54 holes.
Bubba Watson takes a two-shot lead after the third round at the Hero World Challenge. However, he has won only twice out of nine times when he has the lead or share of the lead on the PGA Tour after 54 holes. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NASSAU (Bahamas) • American Bubba Watson carded a flawless course record-equalling nine-under 63 and stormed to a two-stroke lead over Englishman Paul Casey after the third round at the Hero World Challenge on Saturday.

The two-time Masters champion, boosted by an early eagle, added seven birdies to post a 19-under 197 total at Albany Golf Club in New Providence.

Watson was caught by surprise by his eagle, with a seven-iron from 169 yards at the par-four fourth.

He yelled at his ball to get "down" as it flew through the air, and it obeyed nicely, landing some 18 inches in front of the cup and bouncing in.

In the field as an alternate after Australian Jason Day withdrew, Watson is in prime position to win.

However, his record in closing the deal is not exactly comparable with Tiger Woods, host of this exclusive 18-man tournament.

Watson has won only twice out of nine times on the PGA Tour when holding the lead or a share of the lead through 54 holes.

"It was a good day," Watson told reporters. "The key for me around this golf course, I think for everybody, though, as we're seeing, when there's no wind, light wind, we can score.

"We're all good players, don't get me wrong.

"We're all top 50 in the world."

He added: "But with no wind, this golf course is a little bit easier to make birdies."

Second-placed Casey, who earlier set the record mark with a 63 of his own, moved into second place on 17-under.

Americans Patrick Reed and Chris Kirk are another shot behind.

World No. 1 Jordan Spieth did not have such a good day.

He held a share of the half-way lead. However, he carded 68 to slip four shots behind at the US$3.5 million (S$4.9 million) tournament.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 07, 2015, with the headline 'Watson ties course mark, Spieth 4 shots off'. Print Edition | Subscribe