Els moves clear in Florida
Ernie Els sits atop the leaderboard going into the final day of the Arnold Palmer Invitational after Ben Curtis suffered a late slip.
Ernie Els sits atop the leaderboard going into the final day of the Arnold Palmer Invitational after Ben Curtis suffered a pair of bogeys late in his round to fall one shot behind.
Els and Curtis were among the final players to complete their rounds today and exchanged the lead several times.
But bogeys on the par-five 16th and par-three 17th saw Curtis sign for a round of 70 which leaves him nine under after three rounds – one shot behind Els. The South African bogeyed the 11th but hit back with birdies on the 12th and 16th.
“There’s a lot of work left,” Els said after a 3-under 69, making him the only player to break 70 on all three days at Bay Hill and putting him in line for his second PGA Tour victory in his last two starts..
“Obviously, I’m still in a very good position. I would have taken it before the tournament started. I would like to keep working and just try and concentrate on playing good golf tomorrow.”
The Big Easy is looking just that again, playing golf as well as anyone at the moment.
Saturday was the fifth time in the last six rounds Els has been atop the leaderboard, dating back to his victory at Doral two weeks ago that ended his longest-ever winning drought
He was at 10-under 206, giving himself a chance to win back-to-back on the PGA Tour for the first time in seven years.
Curtis looked just as good on a blustery day at Bay Hill. He just didn’t finish that well.
The former British Open champion had a two-shot lead until he bogeyed the par-5 16th hole and then the par-3 17th.
In the end he had to make a six-foot par putt on the 18th to finish with a 70, leaving him one shot behind.
“That last putt on 18 was big,” Curtis said. “You always want momentum going forward.”
American Chris Couch is a further two shots behind him, having posted a 69 on Saturday.
He began superbly, with four birdies on his first six holes, but could not maintain the pace, with a bogey on the 13th blotting his copybook.
Kevin Na could only manage a round of 72 today as he dropped back into a tie for fourth with Italian Edoardo Molinari, with both men six under par.
They sit just in front of a six-way tie for sixth place.
Jim Furyk bolted up the leaderboard to lead that pack with the best round of the day, signing for a 66 that was highlighted by an eagle on the sixth and five birdies.
On the other end of the scale, Davis Love III dropped back to six under as he suffered a nightmare round, signing for a 74 that featured five bogeys and one double-bogey on the 13th.
Retief Goosen also had a bad day, going round in 73, and finished level with Kevin Streelman, Boo Weekley and Derek Lamely on 54-hole totals of 211.
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