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US bid for major sweep goes beyond Tiger

 
Comments(0) 7/22/12
American golfers, trying to hold all four major golf titles for the first time since 2004, have plenty more hopefuls than Tiger Woods as they try to catch 54-hole British Open leader Adam Scott.

A dozen players within 10 strokes of the Australian include seven Americans, notably 14-time major winner Woods but also Masters champion Bubba Watson, 2007 Masters winner Zach Johnson and 1989 British Open winner Mark Calcavecchia.

US players snapped a six-major losing streak last year when Keegan Bradley captured the PGA Championship and followed that up with Watson's victory at Augusta National last April and Webb Simpson's US Open triumph last month.

"Golf goes in cycles just like all sports," Watson said. "Europeans were winning all the majors it seems like a year ago and right now we're just winning them. Just one of those things.

"Every team has a good team once in a while and then they struggle and then come back and do it again."

Scott owns a four-stroke lead entering Sunday's final round at Royal Lytham on 11-under par 199, with last month's US Open runner-up Graeme McDowell and this week's 36-hole leader, American Brandt Snedeker, sharing second on 203.

Snedeker stumbled back with a 73 and will play alongside Woods in the next-to-last group. He went 40 holes without a bogey then made six in 10 holes to plunge down the leaderboard before birdies at 16 and 18 salvaged some pride.

"Very frustrating," Snedeker said. "Played very poorly on about as easy a course as we're going to see. I'm not happy with it at all, by any means.

"But those two birdies late salvaged what could have been a horrific round into a pretty awful round. So I've still got a chance. I've come from behind before. I can do it again. The conditions will be tough, which is good."

Snedeker wore a black ribbon in his visor on Saturday in memory of those killed and injured in the attack on a crowd of American moviegoers at the new Batman film on Friday.

Woods is five strokes adrift with Johnson and South African Ernie Els sharing fifth, another stroke adrift.

"If I can keep hitting greens, an occasional long putt to drop, you never know what can happen," Johnson warned.

American Bill Haas is eight strokes off the pace in a share of eighth with South African Thomas Aiken while Watson, Calcavecchia and Matt Kuchar, who won the Players Championship in May and shared third at this year's Masters, are nine adrift with only the longest of longshot hopes.

Calcavecchia, 52, went two-over on the back nine to dim his bid to become golf's oldest major champion, surpassing the Open mark of 46 by Old Tom Morris from 1867 and the major record of Julius Boros, who was 48 when he won the 1968 PGA Championship.

"I hung in there and finished OK," he said. "I haven't really thought about my age this week at all. I've just enjoyed the tournament."

Watson hopes to become the ninth man to win the Masters and British Open in the same year, joining a list of legends that includes Ben Hogan, Tom Watson, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Nick Faldo, Mark O’Meara and Woods.

© Copyright AFP Agence France-Presse GmbH - All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed. All reproduction or redistribution is expressly forbidden without the prior written agreement of AFP.
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