PGA Tour

Holmes in command at Doral

2015-03-08 10:01
JB Holmes (AFP)

Miami - J.B. Holmes fired a hole-in-one and birdied four of the last five holes to seize a five-stroke lead after Saturday's third round of the World Golf Championships event at Doral.

Holmes, seeking his fourth career US PGA title, birdied the 14th through 17th holes before a closing bogey as he fired a two-under 70 to stand on 11-under 205 after 54 holes in the Cadillac Championship.

"A win is a win, so if that happens, that would be great," Holmes said. "But I'm just going to go out and control what I control and do my routines and have fun and whatever happens happens."

Reigning Masters champion Bubba Watson blasted a bunker shot 43 feet for a birdie to finish his round of 70 and grab a share of second with fellow American Dustin Johnson on 210 with compatriot Ryan Moore fourth on 211.

"Just trying to hit one close to make an easy par, but for it to actually fall in, obviously dinner is going to taste really good tonight," Watson said.

Johnson aced the par-3 fourth hole only to have Holmes match his feat about 20 minutes later, both of them using 7-irons to solve the 227-yard hole.

"The wind was coming, kind of down and hard off the right," Holmes said of his ace. "I was actually aiming right at it. And well, I was planning on the wind moving it, and I thought if I hit it perfect it would stay straight and it did.

"So one of the rare times you get a hole-in-one where you actually hit it just like you want to."

There had not been an ace on the hole in 25 years.

South African Louis Oosthuizen, Swede Henrik Stenson and American Bill Haas were on 212 with England's Lee Westwood, Australian Adam Scott, Spain's Sergio Garcia and American Webb Simpson on 213.

World number one Rory McIlroy fired a 72 and was 10 shots off the pace, but much happier than Friday, when he hurled his 3-iron into a pond after plunking a shot into the water.

"It was all right," McIlroy said. "I felt like I hit it a little better. Controlled my ball flight a little better. Hit some shots that were quite pleasing.

"It's a tricky day out there with the wind. It would have been nice to shoot something under par, but even par out there isn't that bad a score."

McIlroy says his iron shots are the major flaw he sees in his game as he nears next month's Masters and his bid for a third consecutive major title, one that would also complete his career Grand Slam.

"My iron play just isn't really where I want it to be," he said. "Everything else feels good. I'm driving the ball pretty well. Just not giving myself enough opportunities from hitting good tee shots and I think that's the one thing I need to work on a little bit."

Holmes, whose first PGA title since 2008 came last year at Quail Hollow, opened Thursday with a stunning 62 and followed with a 73 Friday despite finding the water four times.

Holmes opened with a bogey and sandwiched another at the seventh around his ace at the fourth. He took another bogey at 12 but responded with birdie putts from 12 feet at the 14th, 15th and 17th.

At 16, Holmes put his tee shot into a greenside bunker but blasted out inches from the cup to set up a tap-in birdie.

But his tee shot at 18 sailed way right and he ran over the edge of the cup on a 25-foot par putt.

Watson seeks his eighth title and second victory since last year's Masters, having already taken the WGC HSBC Champions last November.

"I can't worry about what J.B. is doing," Watson said.

"This course is hard enough as it is. If I start worrying about other people, I'm going to lose it... Hopefully I can scare him or have a chance for that win."

Johnson seeks his ninth PGA triumph, his first since the 2013 WGC HSBC Champions.

Leading third-round scores on Saturday at the World Golf Championship Cadillac Championship at Doral in Florida (USA unless noted, par-72):

205 - JB Holmes 62-73-70
210 - Dustin Johnson 68-73-69, Bubba Watson 71-69-70
211 - Ryan Moore 66-71-74
212 - Bill Haas 74-73-65, Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 71-74-67, Henrik Stenson (SWE) 69-71-72
213 - Lee Westwood (ENG) 71-72-70, Webb Simpson 74-69-70, Sergio Garcia (ESP) 73-69-71, Adam Scott (AUS) 70-68-75
215 - Shane Lowry (IRL) 71-74-70, Victor Dubuisson (FRA) 72-73-70, Patrick Reed 71-73-71, Morgan Hoffman 73-71-71, Rory McIlroy (NIR) 73-70-72, Ryan Palmer 71-70-74
216 - Kevin Na 74-71-71, Rickie Fowler 68-77-71, Charley Hoffman 70-74-72, Brooks Koepka 69-74-73
217 - Mikko Ilonen (FIN) 78-72-67, Marc Warren (SCO) 73-75-69, Brandt Snedeker 74-73-70, Jimmy Walker 71-76-70, Brendon Todd 72-73-72, Jordan Spieth 75-69-73, John Senden (AUS) 73-70-74

Read more on:    pga tour  |  wgc cadillac championship  |  golf

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