The flags were raised to their regular height. The gallery was more enthusiastic with cheers. Players whose spirits were lifted by the memorial service for Payne Stewart managed to share a few laughs.
On a day when normalcy tried to return to the Tour Championship in Houston, the best indication was Tiger Woods on his way to yet another victory.
Returning from a moving tribute to Stewart, Woods wasted little time moving into the lead at Champions Golf Club yesterday by making eight birdies in just about every weather condition imaginable and taking a three-shot lead going into the final round.
"I came to an understanding, a resolve," Woods said of Friday's service in Orlando. "And by doing that, today's round was a little easier emotionally than it was on Thursday. Seeing Tracey [Stewart] speak from the heart . . . that's incredible.
"If she can have that kind of strength, then we should be able to do that easily."
Woods showed no effects from a stinger he suffered Thursday hitting a rock, finishing off a round of 66 in a series of rainstorms and adding a 4-under 67 in the cool, blustery afternoon to finish 54 holes at 13-under 200.
That puts him in great position to win his third straight tournament and seventh in his last 10 starts--Woods has won the last 10 times after having at least a share of the third-round lead, including last week at Disney World.
"How much better can I get? Only time will tell, and only more hard work will show," Woods said. "Hopefully, I will continue to get better."
Chris Perry made four birdies to complete a 64 and had a 69 in the afternoon to finish at 203. Brent Geiberger was another stroke back after a 68.
PGA: Their perspectives changed by an emotional week, Chris DiMarco and Brian Henninger set the pace early and shared the lead after two rounds of the Southern Farm Bureau Classic in Madison, Miss.
Henninger had a 6-under 66, the best round in the field, and DiMarco had his second straight bogey-free round, a 68 after his opening 65. Both were at 11-under 133 and had a three-stroke lead at Annandale Golf Club.
Like the Tour Championship in Houston, the Southern Farm Bureau resumed after taking a day off for the memorial service of U.S. Open champion Stewart.
"I've shed tears all week long. I watched on television," Henninger said. "I think that's helped me play and put things in perspective. This is a celebration of Payne's life; I'm just out there playing golf. It's impacted me a lot more than I thought it would."
Henninger and DiMarco both played in the morning, needing just 23 putts each and avoiding play in the afternoon when wind gusts of up to 25 mph and occasional rain made play more difficult.
SENIORS: Dave Stockton shot a 7-under 64 and took a two-stroke lead over John Mahaffey after two rounds of the Pacific Bell Senior Classic in Los Angeles.
Mahaffey, who was tied for the first-round lead, had a 68 and was at 133 after two trips around the Wilshire Country Club course.
Defending champion Joe Inman carded a 66 and was tied for third at 134 with Super Senior winner Gary Player and Bob Murphy. Player had his second straight 67, while Murphy matched Inman with a 66.
Stockton's 11-under total is his best start of the year. In 24 previous events, he has one top 10 finish.
EUROPE: Without flash, flair or even a bunch of birdies, South African Retief Goosen extended his lead to two shots entering the final round of the $1.6 million Volvo Masters in Jerez, Spain.
Goosen had a 2-under-par 70 over the 7,058-yard Montecastillo course and enters today at 16-under 200 after 54 holes. New Zealand's Michael Campbell, who had a 67, was second. Jose Coceres of Argentina was another shot back after shooting 68.
LPGA: Captain Lorie Kane and Janice Moodie swung their way to a 9-under-par 63 as the LPGA took the lead over the Japanese team in the Nichirei International women's golf championship in Chiba, Japan.
The LPGA needs three wins and a tie in 12 matches today for the championship. The LPGA, which fell behind in the opening round Friday, had a 9-3 advantage in four-ball stroke play yesterday.
The teams accumulate points over three days, with a point awarded for each match won.