Date: October 14, 2007

McNeill takes outright lead at Frys

Rookie American golfer George McNeill has moved into an outright lead at the Open as Stephen Leaney and Phil Tataurangi were the best of the Australian contingent, seven and eight strokes off the lead respectively. McNeill was one of three leaders at the halfway point of the tournament which, up to then had been played across two Las Vegas courses, the TPC Summerlin and TPC Canals venues. However, a solid five-under 67 took him into a five-stroke lead over the second-placed pair of Robert Garrigus (68) and D.J. Trahan (72). The field, though, played out the third day at the easier par-72 Summerlin course after the second day saw most of the field at the Canals struggle while particularly low scores were recorded elsewhere. One of those players to take advantage of Summerlin on Friday was Garrett Willis, who carded a 10-under 62 on day two. And, it was Willis and McNeill that fought out a tense battle during the early stages of the third round. McNeill, though, struggled to begin with having carded two bogeys and a birdie by the fifth hole. But that was the last mistake he made as he drew level with Willis on nine and then pulled away with four birdies on his back nine, while Willis slumped to a one-over 73 for the day. For the Australiasian contingent, Leaney produced a three-under 69 to go into the last round at 11-under overall, seven strokes adrift of McNeill and probably without any realistic chance of taking victory. In a consistent round, Leaney produced five birdies and a bogey to climb several places up the leaderboard to be one stroke ahead of New Zealand&aposs Phil Tataurangi who also enjoyed a consistent day. Tataurangi was at even-par turning for home but, like McNeill, posted four birdies on his back nine to finish the day carding a four-under 68 to be at 10-under overall. That was as good as it got for the Australasians, though, as several players endured disastrous rounds. New Zealand&aposs Grant Waite had been in good form over the first two days but could only manage a three-over 75 on Saturday in a particularly up and down round that consisted of seven bogeys and four birdies that sees the Kiwi go into the last round at five-under, 13 strokes adrift of the leader. For the remaining Australians, Matthew Goggin and Jarrod Lyle both posted disappointing four-over 76s to be at four and three-under respectively but the unluckiest episode of the day came from Gavin Coles. Coles had been challenging the leaders over the first two days but slumped to a disastrous seven-over 79 on Saturday that was mainly caused by a quintuple bogey on the sixth hole. From then on, Coles could not re-capture his rhythm, carding a further double bogey and bogey on the way home to drop from nine-under overnight, just four strokes off the lead, to being two-under after Saturday. Like Coles, Richard Green also carded a seven over 79 in a disappointing day for the Australians at Summerlin. Third Round of the Open (par 72 SM) -18 George McNeill 66 64 67 -13 Robert Garrigus 71 63 68, D.J. Trahan 65 65 72 -12 Kent Jones 68 67 68, Bo Van Pelt 66 69 68, John Huston 66 65 72, Garrett Willis 68 62 73 -11 Cameron Beckman 65 71 68, Stephen Leaney (Australia) 67 68 69, Jeff Gove 67 67 70, Bob May 63 70 71, Mathias Gronberg 69 64 71, Mark Wilson 66 67 71, Jason Gore 63 68 73 -10 Colt Knost 67 69 69, Mike Weir 69 67 69, Phil Tataurangi (New Zealand) 67 70 68, Billy Mayfair 69 64 72 also: -5 Grant Waite (New Zealand) 66 69 75 -4 Mathew Goggin (Australia) 68 67 76 -3 Jarrod Lyle (Australia) 70 66 76 -2 Gavin Coles (Australia) 69 65 79 +1 Richard Green (Australia) 71 66 79