Mistake Free And Ready To Win
Tim Clark shot A bogey-free 64 on Saturday to grab the lead.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Tim Clark isn't thinking about how close he has come to winning his first PGA Tour title only to come up short.
The South African's approach? He will win -- eventually.
If Clark plays his final round as he finished up Saturday, that just might happen at the Stanford St. Jude Championship.
On a day that started with six players tied for the lead and 52 within six strokes of the top, Clark broke a logjam at the top by finishing a bogey-free 6-under 64 with three birdies and an eagle on his final five holes. Then he watched as his 5-under 205 total held up for a two-stroke lead.
"I feel like I've given myself chances to win," said Clark, who has finished second or tied for second six times -- most recently at the Colonial. "Just going to take the position that it's going to happen at some stage. I just need to go out and play and see what happens come the end of the week."
Five players have made this tournament their first tour win, the last Dicky Pride in 1994.
This is Clark's 157th start on tour. He has won more than $10.5 million since joining the tour in 2002, with one of his runner-up finishes coming in the 2006 Masters. This is the second time he has had the lead after 54 holes, sharing the lead with Rich Beam at the 2050 Funai Classic.
"Whoever is going to be leading is going to have a chance," Clark said. "I think whoever plays the best golf tomorrow is going to win the tournament.
Gusting wind that had made par a valuable score through the first two rounds eased enough to make club selection a bit easier, but the wind often came up or changed directions at the wrong time. With the greens firming up even more in heat feeling like 100 degrees, scoring consistently remained a problem with 15 players under par through 54 holes.
Clark will play in the final round Sunday with countryman Trevor Immelman, the Masters champ. Immelman had his own opportunity to grab a share of the lead but bogeyed No. 18 to finish with a 67. He was tied at 207 with Bill Haas (67), Alex Cejka (69) and two of the second-round leaders in tour rookie Marc Turnesa (70) and Gavin Coles (70).
Immelman said he's finally started to play again the past two weeks after dealing with all the attention and demands following his win at Augusta. But he called it amazing that Clark hasn't won on tour after watching him win everything in South Africa.
"It's only a matter of time," Immelman said. "This is the kind of course that sets up well for him. He's a good ball striker, great hitter. When it gets windy, those are what you need."
Vijay Singh (70), 2005 winner Justin Leonard (67), Stephen Ames (68) and Dean Wilson (71) were three strokes back at 208.
Clark started the day at 1 over and got to even with a birdie on the par-4 second. He strung together 11 straight pars before he finally got to scoring.
Hoping for par on the par-3 14th with water guarding the front of the green, Clark rolled in a 28-footer from the left fringe for birdie. He followed with a 12-footer on No. 15 that dropped him to 2 under.
The big swing came on the 530-yard par-5 16th.
Clark had 248 yards to the hole for his second shot, pulled a 5-wood and hit it within 5 feet pin-high. His eagle putt dropped him to 4 under and into a four-way tie for the lead with Haas, Coles and Wilson. Clark took the lead to himself when he stuck a 9-iron from 147 yards to 4 feet, which he sunk for birdie and to finish off a 64 that matched the lowest score shot here this week.
Coles shot the other 64 and noted how his round pushed him from 69th to tied for the lead after 36 holes.
"Look what Tim did today. He went from 1 over to leading the golf tournament ... Someone gets shooting well, not necessarily hot, someone who just plays the golf course smart and putts well, they ... could walk away with a nice prize," Coles said.
The six-way tie had been the most at any round on the PGA Tour since six were tied through 36 holes at the 2007 Shell Houston Open.
That resulted in an all-out scramble with the lead changing out nearly every hole with two- and three-way ties for the top of the leaderboard. First it was Coles, then Wilson held a solo lead. It became a four-way tie when Clark eagled the par-5 16th, and he became the clubhouse leader finishing up at 5 under with a 64 that matched the low round at this tournament so far.
Then Turnesa birdied the par-5 15th and joined Clark at 5 under. Turnesa had his own chance to take the lead at the 16th but hit his second shot right of the green into the rough. His third shot across the green to the rough, and he couldn't sink a 9-footer to save par.
Divots:@ Tournament officials announced the 2009 event will played June 8-14, keeping its date the week before the U.S. Open for a third straight year. ... Haas' father, Jay, won on this course in 1992 and 1993. Bill Haas remembers watching on TV as his father made a putt to win on No. 18 but admits he was too young then to appreciate what happened. "I'm sure I'll talk to him tonight, and he'll give me his bit of advice," Haas said.