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Archive for Saturday, September 1, 2007

Villegas vaults into first

Big Three’ golfers struggle at Deutsche Bank

September 1, 2007

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— They have combined for 121 victories and 19 majors. But when Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh played together Friday for the first time on the PGA Tour, the only number that mattered was on their scorecards.

The "Big Three" were a combined 3-over par.

On a day when Camilo Villegas shot a career-low 63 at the Deutsche Bank Championship, the biggest buzz outside Beantown was on the three biggest names in golf, who delivered some memorable moments they would rather forget.

Mickelson twice went on a search-and-rescue mission in the forest along the ninth hole, trying to find his golf ball and figure out how to hit it. He wound up with a triple bogey that spoiled a round of 70.

Woods took three shots to get out of the bunker on the 298-yard fourth hole and shot double bogey. He spent the rest of the afternoon on the TPC Boston trying to get back to even par, missing four birdie putts inside 10 feet and settling for 1-over 72.

Singh four-putted from 15 feet on the opening hole. He shot 74. It was the second straight week in the PGA Tour Playoffs that Singh had a four-putt double bogey.

Woods was asked how he would describe the festivities and summed it beautifully.

"Over."

Woods hit his second shot into the water on the par-5 second hole and combined with his double bogey on No. 4, was at 3 over through four holes and already 10 shots out of the lead.

"It's not like I haven't been in this position before," Woods said. "I kept saying, 'I basically have 68 holes to make it up."'

Villegas was three groups ahead and playing the kind of golf expected out of the glamour boys.

"Kept the ball in play and rolled in some beautiful putts," Villegas said. "I was happy with my round. It's very early in the week, and it's time to keep it going."

He had a two-shot lead over former Masters champion Mike Weir and Ryan Moore, while Barclays winner Steve Stricker continued his solid play with a 67 that helped his chances of staying atop the playoff standings.

The Deutsche Bank is most critical for Weir, who needs to finish at least fifth to have any chance of getting to the BMW Championship next weekend.

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