NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) Dustin Johnson wasn’t even expecting to be in the Bahamas for the Hero World Challenge. He was tied for the lead Friday with Hideki Matsuyama, who has reason to expect being at the top of any tournament he plays.
Six shots behind was Tiger Woods, who shot a 7-under 65 without anyone in his way.
Johnson ran off three straight birdies early in his round, moved into contention with an eagle and closed with a fearless drive down the middle of the water-lined 18th fairway at Albany that set up a birdie for a 66. Matsuyama had the lead to himself until a bogey from the bunker on the par-3 17th. He shot a 67 to tie Johnson at 12-under 132.
They were two shots ahead of Louis Oosthuizen and Matt Kuchar, who each shot 67.
No one knows winning like Matsuyama over the last few months. He has three victories in his last four starts around the world – the other was a runner-up finish in Malaysia – which includes his first World Golf Championship title at the HSBC Champions.
Johnson was scheduled to play an exhibition against Rory McIlroy in the Philippines on Tuesday, and while he thought about a trip halfway around the world to get to the Bahamas on time, he was resigned to sitting this one out. But he never withdrew in case the exhibition fell through, and it did.
Woods made two super par saves, from next to a bush on the par-3 eighth and with a 25-foot putt on the 16th. He was practically flawless for a seven-hole stretch in the middle of his round and tied for ninth. Plus, it took just under three hours. Woods played as a single when Albany resident Justin Rose withdrew because of back problems.
AUSTRALIAN PGA CHAMPIONSHIP
GOLD COAST, Australia (AP) – Andrew Dodt shot a 5-under 67 to take a two-stroke lead over fellow Australian Ashley Hall in the Australian PGA Championship.
Dodt had a 12-under 132 total at Royal Pines Resort. Hall shot a 69.
Australian star Adam Scott (6) and New Zealand’s Ryan Fox (69) were 8 under.
American Harold Varner III (72) was 7 under.
ALFRED DUNHILL CHAMPIONSHIP
MALELANE, South Africa (AP) – South Africa’s Brandon Stone closed with an eagle to take the Alfred Dunhill Championship lead after needing treatment for a back injury midway through the round.
Stone shot a 6-under 66 to reach 11-under 133 at Leopard Creek.
Defending champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa and Chris Hanson of England were second. Schwartzel had a 68m and Hanson shot 65.
LPGA TOUR Q-SCHOOL
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Japanese teen Nasa Hataoka shot a 3-under 69 to take a one-stroke lead after the third of five rounds in the LPGA Tour qualifying tournament.
The 17-year-old Hataoka had four birdies and a bogey on the Jones Course to reach 14-under 202 at LPGA International. She won a Japan LPGA major in October.
The top 20 will earn full cards and the next 25 and ties will get conditional status.
Jaye Marie Green was second after a 67 on the Jones Course. The American won in 2013 at LPGA International at a record 29 under.
Iceland’s Olafia Kristinsdottir was 9 under along with American Sadena Parks, Taiwan’s Ssu Chia Cheng and Latvia’s Krista Puisite. Kristinsdottir had a 67 on the Hills Course. Parks shot 67, Cheng 69, and Puisite 70 – all on the Jones Course.
PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS Q-SCHOOL
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) – Phillip Price and Scott Parel shared medalist honors in the PGA Tour Champions qualifying tournament to top the five fully exempt qualifiers.
Price, from Wales, shot a 4-under 68 to match Parel (69) at 13-under 275 on Disney’s Magnolia Course.
Bobby Gage was third at 11 under, birdieing the final three holes for a 67.
Fran Quinn and Skip Kendall got the last two spots, beating Gibby Gilbert III in a playoff. Quinn shot 68, Kendall 72, and Gilbert 67 to reach 9 under. Nos. 6-30 and ties received associate membership and will have access to event qualifying while bypassing pre-qualifying.