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Archive for Sunday, July 20, 2008

Aussies Flanagan, Coles tied at top

July 20, 2008

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— Greg Norman won't be the only Australian trying for a win today.

Fellow countrymen Nick Flanagan and Gavin Coles are tied for the lead at 11 under entering the final round of the US Bank Championship, a tournament that Norman himself won in 1989.

And if Norman should go on to become the oldest major champion with a win in the British Open, Coles and Flanagan won't feel overshadowed.

"That would be definitely OK with me. I'm playing in America because Greg Norman showed us that we could play here. Norman, back in the 90s, was the guy we all looked up to," Coles said. "It's going to be unbelievable and I hope he does it."

Flanagan fired a third-round 69, rebounding from a bogey at the 17th by knocking a hybrid to within 12 feet on the 557-yard, par-5 finishing hole and making a tap-in birdie to reclaim a share of the lead after Coles shot 68.

"I thought I hit a perfect putt. I don't know how it missed," Flanagan said of his eagle chance.

Second-round co-leader Richard S. Johnson of Sweden, playing with Flanagan, also just missed an eagle putt at the 18th.

But his tap-in birdie allowed him to finish at even-par 70, tied with Jon Mills (64), George McNeill (66) and Ken Duke (68) a stroke back of the leaders.

The low rounds came despite a drizzle that fell most of the day. Coles said the light rain was not a problem because there was no high wind.

"The weather was not a nuisance and the course was made for some birdies," he said.

Five players were another shot back at 9 under, including defending champion Joe Ogilvie, whose 68 on Saturday puts him in position to win the tournament for the second straight year.

Kenny Perry, whose decision to play the tournament instead of the British Open was panned by players and the media, shot a third-round 69 to get to 6 under - too far back to have much of a chance at his fourth win this season.

"My goal was to get within three, and I had my chances," said Perry, who won the John Deere Classic last week. "If I could have made a couple putts coming in and got within three, I would have had a shot at this deal. It will take a magical round tomorrow. I'd have to shoot 61 or some crazy number, and that ain't happening right now."

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