Rory Sabbatini made a 5-foot birdie on the 18th hole yesterday that allowed him to finish the day the same way he started - with a four-shot lead in the PGA Tour Nissan Open in Los Angeles.
That was about the only thing that went according to plan. A forecast for rain gave way to brilliant skies over Riviera, allowing for the best scoring of the week. And Tiger Woods was nowhere to be found. He withdrew with the flu, the first time in his pro career he has left in the middle of the tournament for health reasons.
The fans still had a local favorite they love to cheer.
Fred Couples, a two-time winner of the Nissan Open who dominated at Riviera in the 1990s, overcame his massive head cold with a 31 on the back nine to shoot 65, leaving him in the last group with a chance to rekindle some of his past glory on the course off Sunset Boulevard.
Sabbatini shot a 67 and was at 14-under-par 199. Couples was tied with Craig Barlow, who shot 67.
Clearly, it all depends on Sabbatini, who might be the hottest player on the PGA Tour with two second-place finishes this year and nothing worse than a tie for 20th. Right when a couple of players were closing on his lead, he ran off three straight birdies, then padded his lead one extra stroke with an approach into 5 feet on the fabled 18th.
Woods never made it to the first tee. He was battling the flu all week, and after narrowly making the cut Friday, decided to withdraw.
LPGA SBS Open -- Joo Mi Kim holed a 2-foot birdie putt on the second sudden-death playoff hole, defeating fellow South Korean Soo Young Moon in the tour's season-opening tournament in Kahaku, Hawaii. Kim shot a final-round 71 to earn her first LPGA Tour victory and finished with a 10-under 206 total. After making the short putt, she was soaked with champagne by fellow players on the 18th green and was then forced to jump into the lake.
Champions ACE Group Classic -- Loren Roberts shot a 66 in Naples, Fla., to grab a share of the lead after two rounds as he attempts to win three straight tournaments on the tour. Roberts, Don Pooley and Brad Bryant are tied at 11-under 133, one shot ahead of Rick Karbowski. Pooley and Bryant each birdied No. 18.