Campbell Is Atop a Wet, Wild Masters
Sunday, April 9, 2006
AUGUSTA, Ga., April 8 -- They'll hold a Masters marathon Sunday, and 36-hole leader Chad Campbell was already starting to approach his own version of heartbreak hill in the storm-shortened third round Saturday at Augusta National.
Campbell, who went to sleep with a three-shot lead Friday night, played just four holes Saturday evening after a 4 1/2 -hour delay that left most of the 36-hole leaders spending the afternoon in and around the clubhouse before play finally resumed at 5:20 p.m. He surely spent much of Saturday night thinking about two missed eight-foot par putts on the third and fourth holes that negated his birdie-birdie start.
Campbell is 6 under par through 40 holes, good for a one-shot lead over his plucky playing partner, Rocco Mediate, who keeps hanging around the lead, bad back and all. Mediate birdied two of the first four holes he played and is now at 5 under, tied with South African Tim Clark. He also got to 5 under for the tournament when he birdied three of his first five holes, and would have had a share of the lead if not for a missed three-footer at the 240-yard No. 4 that barely stayed out.
"It's going to be tough, but I don't think winning any major is going to be easy," said Campbell, who will have to play 32 holes Sunday. "It's where I want to be. Obviously I would have liked to have had today go a little smoother with the weather, but that's the way it goes."
Mediate, who said his chronically sore back would not be a problem despite also having to play 32 holes on Sunday, added that "I'm in shock how comfortable I feel. . . . I'll crawl around here if I have to. I'm not going to stop unless you have to pull me out of here."
Defending champion Tiger Woods, seeking his fifth Masters title and 11th major championship victory, managed to complete nine holes Saturday and played them in 2 under par, pushing to 3 under and only three behind.
He's tied for fourth place with Irishman Padraig Harrington, who played his five holes Saturday in 2 under, and Phil Mickelson, who began with three straight birdies, followed by back-to-back bogeys that also left him at 3 under.
Campbell began beautifully, sinking a 12-foot birdie putt on the 465-yard first hole to get to 7 under, and leaving himself a 25-footer for eagle at the 575-yard No. 2. Campbell drilled the eagle putt four feet past the hole, then stepped up and added a second straight birdie to get to eight-under.
Then the nerves he had talked about the day before seemed to take over.
At the 350-yard No. 3, he was in the middle of the fairway after his tee shot, only to leave his wedge shot short of the elevated green. "My only bad shot today," he said. It spun back down a swale, and his chip stopped eight feet from the cup. He missed that putt, and missed another eight-footer at the 240-yard No. 4 after hitting his tee shot in the bunker.
Clark, playing with countryman Ernie Els, had a six-footer for birdie at the sixth hole when play was suspended. He decided not to try that putt in the dark, and when he comes back Sunday morning can tie for the lead if he makes it.
Twenty-one players were within six shots of Campbell's lead when play began in a light drizzle Saturday morning, but none of the top 22 was able to tee off until play resumed at 5:20 p.m. Only 11 players managed to complete the third round Saturday.