Archive for Sunday, February 22, 2004

Weir in command at Nissan Open

Second-place Maruyama trails by five; Daly eight back

February 22, 2004


— Mike Weir separated himself from the pack with one swing, then turned the Nissan Open into a runaway Saturday. His 5-under 66 gave him a five-shot lead and the lowest 54-hole score in tournament history.

The Canadian known for his great comebacks -- all six of his PGA Tour victories have come from off the lead -- set himself up to be the first repeat champion at Riviera since Corey Pavin in 1995.

"I'm looking at this as a challenge," Weir said. "I want to prove to myself that I can handle a five-shot lead."

Weir was at 17-under 196, breaking by one shot the 54-hole score set by Fred Couples in 1992.

Shigeki Maruyama, who started the third round tied with Weir, stayed in range until bogeys on both par 3s on the back nine. A birdie on the final hole gave him an even-par 71, five shots behind.

Jeff Maggert had a 69 -- his third straight round in the 60s -- and was at 11-under 202.

"I didn't expect to shoot 5 under," Weir said. "But my putter has just been on fire."

The gallery took their hands off umbrellas long enough to clap and cheer John Daly, but it couldn't sustain him. Daly missed several short birdie opportunities and shot 72, leaving him eight shots off the lead. Daly was only one shot behind when he came up short, his chip rolled back down the ridge, and he three-putted for a double-bogey.

For Tiger Woods, it was another lost cause at Riviera. This is the only PGA Tour course he has played at least five times without winning, and this year will only add to that streak. Woods again squandered away shots and managed only a 1-over 72, leaving him 14 shots behind. He left Riviera without speaking to reporters.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.