Date: September 28, 2008

Allenby equal fifth

Robert Allenby remains six strokes off the lead after the third round of the Tour Championship. Allenby, who began the day in a tie for eighth position, backed up his second-round 66 with a three-under-par third round of 67. The Australian is now in equal fifth position with American Ben Curtis on two-under overall, but there&aposs still fair gap between himself and leader Sergio Garcia (eight-under) put his Ryder Cup misery behind him to charge into a three-shot lead. Garcia, who was uncharacteristically mediocre at Valhalla last week, looked more like his true self as he carded a 67 at East Lake. The Spaniard posted an eight-under total of 202 with Americans Phil Mickelson (69) and Anthony Kim (72) second on five-under. Colombian Camilo Villegas is three-under with only seven players under par in the 30-man field. Garcia, who was beaten 5 and 4 by Kim in their singles showdown at the Ryder Cup, enjoyed a measure of revenge as he totally outplayed his opponent in benign conditions. Starting the day two strokes behind, he pulled level with birdies at the seventh and ninth and then eased clear on the back nine. “I played pretty solidly overall,” said Garcia, who only managed one point from four matches at the Ryder Cup. Kim, by contrast, had a stellar Ryder Cup but was out of sorts on Saturday (US time), particularly off the tee, finding just four fairways as he struggled with his accuracy. He kept himself in the hunt with a great putting display on the front nine, but managed just one birdie all day. Kim&aposs wayward tee shot on the ninth struck a spectator on the forehead, knocking the man to the ground and leaving a massive gash on his forehead. The spectator, David Whitfield, was quickly attended to by medics and although he remained conscious, was in considerable pain with his forehead splattered with blood. Kim parred the hole but was clearly unsettled. “I felt terrible,” Kim said. “You never want to see that anywhere. He&aposs going to need some stitches but he&aposs going to be all right.” Kim revealed that he had a rushed preparation after mistaking his tee-time. He thought it was 11:55am, when in fact it was 30 minutes earlier. “I was a little thrown off, but no excuses,” he said. Mickelson, meanwhile, does not seem to be suffering a Ryder Cup hangover. “I made some good putts today,” said Mickelson who, like Garcia, was mediocre at Valhalla, gaining only two points from five matches. “Anything after the Ryder Cup is going to be a letdown but this is the last tournament of the year in the US and I&aposm trying to give it everything I&aposve got.” “One win would change the way I look at the year.” Vijay Singh moved within 18 holes of the FedEx Cup play-off title when he completed another mediocre round. A 72 was Singh&aposs best score of the week and left him nine-over. Singh only has to complete the final round to be crowned the play-off champion and pick up a 5.4-million-pound ($AU 11,982,778) bonus. He eliminated any suspense by winning the first two play-off events. “It&aposs difficult to play when you&aposre trying not to hurt yourself,” he admitted. Kim dropped a shot at the difficult par-three 18th, as did Garcia, but could hardly complain about his position. “Finishing with a bogey isn&apost the best feeling in the world but I&aposm proud of the way I hung in there,” said the 23-year-old. “I didn&apost make as many putts as I would have liked. There were a couple of opportunities to hang my head and I just kept plodding along and fortunately got out of there under par.” Mickelson was pleased with his incoming holes but believes there is room for improvement off the tee. “The putter has been very helpful,” Mickelson said. “I&aposve made a lot of putts. I need to drive it a little better.” “I drove it well the last eight holes and was able to play them under par, but starting out I didn&apost drive it as accurately as I would have liked, and it cost me.” The 38-year-old, who has now played in seven Ryder Cups, admits it is a struggle returning to the Tour after events in Valhalla last week but said adrenaline is keeping him going. “I know some guys have felt an emotional letdown this week, and it has been difficult getting the energy to come and play, but yet when a couple of putts go in and you make a few birdies, that energy level comes up quick,” he said. Third Round of The Tour Championship (Par 70) -8: Sergio Garcia 70 65 67 -5: Phil Mickelson 68 68 69, Anthony Kim 64 69 72 -3: Camilo Villegas 72 66 69 -2: Ben Curtis 71 69 68, Robert Allenby (Australia) 75 66 67 -1: KJ Choi 69 70 70 E: Mike Weir 70 69 71 +1: Kevin Sutherland 71 71 69, Jim Furyk 72 70 69, Ernie Els 68 73 70 +2: Billy Mayfair 72 71 69, Trevor Immelman 68 73 71 +3: Stuart Appleby (Australia) 72 71 70, Dudley Hart 73 69 71, +4: DJ Trahan 71 72 71 +5: Ken Duke 77 69 69, Briny Baird 74 71 70, Justin Leonard 73 69 73 +7: Hunter Mahan 74 75 68