THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Sure enough, putting was all the rage Thursday in the World Challenge.
One day after golf’s governing bodies proposed a new rule that will ban the anchored stroke used for long putters, Keegan Bradley talked about someone on Twitter telling the PGA champion to send in his resume to Burger King in 2016, when the rule goes into effect. Bradley got so fed up with the teasing over his belly putter this week that he grabbed Tiger Woods’ putter and made three out of four from 10 feet.
The rule doesn’t affect Nick Watney, though he couldn’t say enough about his putting. He made five birdies on his final 10 holes — including his first birdie ever on the 14th hole at Sherwood — for a 5-under 67 that gave him a two-shot lead.
Woods’ putting saved his round, even though most of them were for par. That included a 12-foot putt on the 15th and an 8-footer to avoid bogey on the par-5 16th. It added up to a 70, which left him very much in the hunt at an 18-man event where he is more than just a tournament host. Without a title sponsor, Woods is underwriting most of the cost.
Bradley and a pair of past champions at this tournament — Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell — were two shots out of the lead at 69. Woods was in the group at 70 that included Bo Van Pelt, whom Woods beat this year at Congressional, and U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson.
Haas hanging on
At Sun City, South Africa, Bill Haas bogeyed two of the final three holes in the Nedbank Golf Challenge to slip back into a share of the first-round lead with Nicolas Colsaerts.
Two shots ahead after the 15th hole, the American dropped strokes on 16 and 18 to match Colsaerts at 2-under 70 in the 12-player event at Gary Player Country Club.
Haas’s father, Jay, was tied for second at 71 in the seniors’ Champions Challenge. Bernhard Langer topped the eight-man field at 68.