Garcia's late surge gives him a two-shot lead at Barclays
Bethpage Black lived up its reputation because of the greens, which in some cases looked brown.
Sergio Garcia called them the fastest putting surfaces he could recall. Nick Watney referred to them as extreme. More than one player suggested the course was unplayable Saturday in The Barclays, certainly late in the afternoon as the sun baked out the public course on Long Island in Farmingdale, N.Y.
But Garcia managed them just fine.
With no bogeys over his final eight holes, he turned a three-shot deficit into a two-shot lead over Watney with a 2-under 69. Such were the conditions that Garcia was the only player among the final 18 to finish who broke 70.
"The course is extremely firm," he said. "The greens, just probably some of the fastest greens I've ever played. Just one of those days where you knew it was going to be tough and you have to hold on very tight, and just kind of hope for the best."
Garcia went four years without winning on the PGA Tour and now has a chance to make it two in a row and return to the top 10 in the world. He was at 10-under 203, and only four players were within four shots of the lead.
Watney, who made five putts over 15 feet, went after another one on the 18th hole and this one cost him. The ball raced 10 feet by the hole, and he missed it coming back for his only official three-putt of the round. That gave him an even-par 71, though still in good shape to make a run at his first win of the year.
"The course just kind of beats you up," Watney said.
Tiger Woods, who started the third round three shots out of the lead, three-putted for bogey three times on the front nine alone. He had another three-putt on the 14th hole, this one from 15 feet, and had a 72 that put him six shots behind.
"I don't remember blowing putts by 8 to 10 feet," Woods said. "So that was a bit of a shocker."
Slugger White, the PGA Tour's vice president of rules and competition, disputed the idea the course was on the verge of being unplayable. He conceded a few greens became "crusty," particularly at Nos. 2 and 8, and that the staff was thinking there would be more cloud cover. He went out to the greens after the last group came through and said, "I saw no issues."
Watney didn't entirely agree.
"There's firm and fast, and then there's this," Watney said. "I mean, this is pretty extreme."
■ Lydia Ko took a one-stroke lead in the Canadian Women's Open in her bid to become the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history, shooting an even-par 72. The 15-year-old South Korean-born New Zealander had an 8-under 208 total at The Vancouver Golf Club in British Columbia. Also trying to become the fifth amateur winner and first since JoAnne Carner in the 1969 Burdine's Invitational, Ko won the U.S. Women's Amateur two weeks ago. In January, she won the New South Wales Open in Australia at 14 to become the youngest player to win a professional tour event.
"Tomorrow, I'm just going to try my best," Ko said. "I've got to play my own game. I can't concentrate on what the other players are doing. If they shoot 66 and I shoot 68 and I lose, I can't control what they do."
■ Tom Jenkins holed out for eagle on the par-4 third hole and finished with a 7-under 65 to take a three-shot lead in the Boeing Classic in Snoqualmie, Wash. The 64-year-old Jenkins is trying to become the oldest winner in Champions Tour history. Mike Fetchick was 63 when he won the 1985 Hilton Head Seniors Invitational.
"I won't think about it until I'm on the 18th with a five-shot lead," Jenkins said. "I've been in a couple of situations this year after the first round and didn't handle it very well, certainly not having been there, and at this age, it's tough. The nerves are not as good as they used to be."
High school football
CovCath's Bir sets school record in win
Covington Catholic quarterback Blake Bir broke the school record for career touchdown passes in a 54-0 victory against visiting Dixie Heights on Saturday. Bir threw six TD passes, which tied a school mark, to give him 59 for his career. Both Covington Catholic records were previously set by Adam McCormick in 1992.
Etan Egbers and Sam Hatters both had two TD receptions.
■ Zach Carmichael threw for 202 yards and a pair of touchdowns in Anderson County's 24-16 victory against Garrard County in the Bob Allen Bowl at Danville. Granville Hayes had 80 rushing yards and scored on a 6-yard run.
Volleyball finishes Kentucky Classic 3-0
The 13th-ranked Kentucky volleyball team needed a comeback effort to prevail 3-2 over visiting Lipscomb early Saturday on the second day of the Kentucky Classic. Junior Whitney Billings (15 kills, 11 digs) and senior Christine Hartmann (44 assists, 14 digs) both had double-doubles. The Wildcats followed that up with a 3-1 win against Long Beach State. UK swept North Carolina in the season opener on Friday.
■ Kentucky's men's soccer team will open its first season with Johan Cedergren as coach at 5 p.m. Sunday at Dayton. The Wildcats defeated the Flyers 2-0 last season in the season opener for both squads. UK returns several of its top players from a 9-9-2 season in 2011, including top scorers Matt Lodge, Tyler Riggs and Charley Pettys.
UK gymnast injures neck during practice
Kentucky senior gymnast Caitlyn Ciokajlo suffered a neck injury on Friday and had to be hospitalized. During conditioning exercises at Nutter Field House, Ciokajlo was treated immediately on site by an athletic trainer before being rushed to UK Hospital.
The 5-foot-3 senior from Brooklyn, Mich., was doing well Saturday and able to move all of her extremities, athletics spokesman Evan Crane told the Herald-Leader. Her long-term prognosis is good.
Legends held to one hit in 10-inning loss
Charleston RiverDogs starter Corey Black and three relievers combined to limit the Lexington Legends to one hit and Ali Castillo doubled in the only run of the game in the top of the 10th inning at Whitaker Bank Ballpark on Saturday night. Legends starter David Rollins pitched 72⁄3 scoreless innings. He gave up three hits and had 10 strikeouts.
■ Brock Myers hit a tie-breaking double, and Goodlettsville, Tenn., gave up a 10-run lead in the bottom of the sixth before scoring nine in the seventh in a 24-16 victory Saturday over Petaluma, Calif., for a berth in the Little League World Series title game in South Williamsport, Pa.
Only California's 10-run comeback to send the game into extra innings tied at 15 could overshadow Tennessee slugger Lorenzo Butler's extraordinary day at the plate. Butler set a single-game record with nine RBI, and tied a record with three homers to lead Tennessee.
Tennessee will face Tokyo on Sunday. Tokyo beat Aguadulce, Panama, 10-2 in the international finals.
The last word
Bristol Motor Speedway bills itself as the most exciting track in NASCAR, and brought in famed ring announcer Michael Buffer to help get the action started Saturday night. Buffer said he's the perfect fit for an auto racing event because his trademark "Let's get ready to rumble!" opening was created with racing in mind:
"I wanted something that would be a hook, that would be comparable to the world famous "Gentlemen Start Your Engines."
Buffer said it took some time to get the right call:
"I tried 'Man your battle stations,' and it was like crickets from the Bugs Bunny cartoon. It was horrible."