Archive for Sunday, June 1, 2003

Perry endures weather woes

Leader cards 2-under 70 for two-stroke edge

June 1, 2003


— The cold wind was whipping so hard when Kenny Perry got to the first tee that he figured even par would be enough for him to keep the lead in the Memorial.

As usual, he was better than that.

Perry shot a 2-under 70 Saturday, which felt even better than the 61 he shot last week in the third round at Colonial.

His lead Saturday was two shots over Lee Janzen, but Perry felt just as confident as when he led by eight last week going into the final round.

"I can make good, solid pars and make them catch me," Perry said.

Several players have a chance, none of them named Tiger Woods.

Another brutal Saturday at Muirfield -- in Ohio, not Scotland -- again proved too much for the world's No. 1 player.

Woods, meanwhile, struggled with his swing and the gusts up to 30 mph made it look even worse. He hit a tee shot out of bounds for triple bogey and played the front nine in 42. He had to play the final four holes in 2 under to shoot 76.

It was his worst round ever at Memorial, where he is the only three-time winner, and at times it was reminiscent of his 81 in the third round of the British Open last year at Muirfield, with one exception.

"It's a hell of a lot warmer here," Woods said.

Maybe that's because Perry -- the hottest player in golf -- is on the course.

Coming off a victory at Colonial with a record score, Perry made only one bogey and ended another round with a birdie on the 18th. His 5-iron climbed up the ridge, then trickled down the slope to within eight feet.

"That's probably better than the 61 I shot last week," said Perry, who was at 13-under 203. "The conditions were brutal. It was raw out there."

Janzen, winless since his second U.S. Open title five years ago, holed two bunker shots on the back nine -- for birdie on No. 15 and for par on the No. 17 -- and had a 71 that left him at 11-under 202.

"I just wanted to hang in there," Janzen said. "Regardless of what I shot, I just wanted to enjoy the day -- kind of silly to enjoy a day like today -- but enjoy that I play golf and I was near the lead."

No one had a more enjoyable day than Jose Maria Olazabal. His bogey-free 66 was more than nine strokes better than the average score Saturday. That shot him up from a tie for 30th into a tie for third, along with Vijay Singh and Retief Goosen at 8-under 208.

Singh had a 72, while Goosen had three bogeys on the back nine for a 74. Olazabal was the only player to break 70, and only 11 players broke par.

About two hours before the leaders teed off, the third round was halted for 46 minutes as a storm system passed. Left behind was the nastiest weather of the year on the PGA Tour, with temperatures in the low 50s and gusts that spell trouble along the tree-lined fairways of Muirfield Village.

"It's hard to judge where the wind is coming from," Woods said. "The thing that's hard is to get committed over a shot."

Woods couldn't turn anywhere for sympathy. Eleven players shot 80 or worse, the highest number on the weekend ever at the Memorial.

John Daly drove the 343-yard 14th hole for the third straight day, and this time got a birdie. He also had two triple bogeys and a quadruple bogey for an 83.

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