Sunday, March 7, 2004

Parry wakes up in time to grab one-stroke lead

The Associated Press

MIAMI - Craig Parry almost missed his tee time for the opening round of the Ford Championship at Doral. He hasn't missed much since. Parry shot a 5-under 67 in the third round Saturday, moving to 13-under 203 and taking a one-shot lead over Gene Sauers (64) and Scott Verplank (65).

Phil Mickelson, Joe Durant, Chris DiMarco and three others were two strokes back at 11 under. The tightly grouped field - 18 players within five shots of the lead - should make for an exciting final round on Doral's beefed-up Blue Monster course. "Anyone within eight shots can win," Parry said.

The signature par-4 18th hole has a good chance to determine the outcome. The 467-yard hole, lengthened by 24 yards last year, allowed just four birdies Saturday and 22 through three rounds.

Danny Ellis found the water on his second shot, made double bogey and dropped to 11 under. Durant three-putted for bogey.

Mickelson and second-round leader Retief Goosen made two of the four birdies there playing in the final group.

Not coincidentally, Parry is the only player on the leaderboard who hasn't made a bogey on No. 18, which is playing tougher (4.55 scoring average) than any hole on the PGA Tour this year.

Parry went 48 holes without a bogey before making one at the par-4 No. 17 Saturday. His last previous bogey came on his fourth hole of the first round. He was still getting warmed up.

Parry was 1 under in the opening round but 12 under in the 36 holes since. No one has played better over the same span.

DUBAI DESERT CLASSIC: Tiger Woods made four birdies in the third round, finishing with a 3-under 69. He trails co-leaders Mark O'Meara and Paul McGinley by six strokes heading into the final round. O'Meara, Woods' friend and Florida neighbor who is winless on the PGA Tour since 1998, carded a 4-under 68, while McGinley shot 69 for a tie at 202.

WOMEN'S AUSTRALIAN: Australian Rachel Teske shot a 1-under 71 in wet conditions, cutting Laura Davies' lead to two strokes after the third round at Sydney. Teske was one of only three players to break par. She moved into second place with a 1-under 215. Davies had a four-stroke lead after two rounds but a 5-over 77 in a rain-interrupted third round left her at 3 under.

CHAMPIONS TOUR: Graham Marsh, 60, shot a 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead after two rounds of the MasterCard Classic in Huixquilucan, Mexico. Marsh had five birdies on the front nine and two birdies and a bogey on the back to move to 8-under 136, one stroke ahead of Hugh Baiocchi.

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