William McGirt takes lead at Riviera
LOS ANGELES — William McGirt had never matched par in his two previous trips to Riviera. Now he’s one round away from his first PGA Tour victory.
McGirt opened with eight birdies in 13 holes on a day when everything felt easy. He wound up with a 6-under 65 on Saturday in the Northern Trust Open, giving him a two-shot lead going into the final round.
At stake for the 34-year-old McGirt is his first trip to the Masters – he has played in only one major – and a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour.
McGirt was at 12-under 201, two shots clear of George McNeill and Charlie Beljan.
McNeill, whose two wins were in the old Fall Series and an opposite-field event, started with an eagle and picked up a final birdie on the par-3 16th for a 66. Beljan, who lost in a playoff at Riviera last year to John Merrick, belted a 3-wood into 8 feet for eagle on the 11th hole and shot a 68.
Jason Allred, the feel-good story this week after Monday qualifying for his first PGA Tour event in more than three years, had a 67 and joined Brian Harman (68) at 9 under. The group at 8 under had star power – Jordan Spieth (67), Dustin Johnson (69), Bubba Watson (64), Charl Schwartzel (68) and Jimmy Walker (67), who is going for his fourth win of the season after winning last week at Pebble Beach.
WOMEN’S AUSTRALIAN OPEN
MELBOURNE, Australia — South Korea’s Chella Choi broke Victoria Golf Club record with a 10-under 62 for a share of the third-round lead in the Women’s Australian Open.
Choi had two eagles, seven birdies and a bogey to match 17-year-old Australian amateur Minjee Lee at 13-under 203 in the event sacntioned by the LPGA, European and Australian tours.
Winless on the LPGA Tour, Choi rebounded from a bogey on No. 13 with four straight birdies and an eagle on the par-5 18th. Lee shot 68.
Sixteen-year-old Lydia Ko of New Zealand was third at 11 under a 69. Second ranked Suzann Pettersen of Norway was another stroke back after a 72.
ACE GROUP CLASSIC
NAPLES, Fla. — Kirk Triplett shot a 5-under 67 in windy conditions for a share of the second-round lead with defending champion Bernard Langer in the ACE Group Classic.
Triplett matched Langer at 10-under 134 on TwinEagles’ Talon Course.
Langer, also the 2011 winner and 2012 runner-up, followed his opening 64 with a 70. He won the season-opening event in Hawaii last month for his 19th Champions Tour title.
Triplett has two Champions Tour victories after winning three times on the PGA Tour.
Duffy Waldorf and Olin Browne were 9 under. Waldorf, coming off a playoff loss to Michael Allen last week in Boca Raton in the Allianz Championship, shot 68. Browne had a 71.
EAST LONDON, South Africa — Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo shot a 9-under 62 to take a two-stroke lead over England’s Oliver Fisher in the Africa Open.
Grillo, seeking his first European Tour, had a 20-under 193 total. Fisher shot 66.