Rose takes two-shot lead into final round of Bob Hope
THOUSAND PALMS, Calif. -- Justin Rose remembered a day of golf in England that was so cold his hands went numb. So despite a chilly, windy third round in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, he was able to get a good grip.
1. Rose (-18)
Rose refused to let the conditions cool off his game, shooting a 6-under 66 on Friday to take a two-stroke lead over Scott Verplank (68).
Rose, who grew up in England, went to 18-under 198 during a round when the weather in the usually warm desert resort area resembled a chilly day at the British Open.
Afternoon temperatures dipped into the 40s, with swirling wind adding to the chill. There was even a brief, light rain at PGA West, where Rose played.
He has experienced worse, including that day as a youth in an amateur tournament.
"I remember not being able to feel my hands, it was that cold," he said. "My dad was caddying for me and I was only 12 or 13 at the time. There was a kid walking down the left rough in tears. He had just had enough with the weather."
Although Rose's solid round included an eagle and five birdies to go with one bogey, he didn't necessarily like playing in the cold.
"I'm becoming a bit more of a Floridian now, I must say, not used to the cold," said Rose, who has lived in Orlando for two years.
Verplank quipped, "When I left home and came out here, I thought I was headed to Palm Springs. But I think I ended up in Seattle or something. Terrible. I'm just happy to be done."
The four courses used for the first four days of the Hope generally yield extremely low scores, but conditions kept scoring more pedestrian during the third round.
Bernhard Langer was a notable exception, with his 9-under 63 vaulting him into a tie for 13th at 10 under. He highlighted his round at Bermuda Dunes with an ace, knocking a 6-iron into the cup on the 170-yard seventh.
"As it was in the air, I was going, 'Oh, I finally hit a great shot,'" Langer said. "And I never saw it. It just flew straight into the cup.
"I dunked it," he said.
The 26-year-old Rose, who was born in Johannesburg and lives in London, joined the PGA Tour full-time in 2004, and his best finish in the 96 events he's played was a tie for second last year in the Texas Open.
Rose has won five international tournaments, including last year's Australian Masters.
Phil Mickelson, the 2002 and 2004 Hope champion, had a 69 at the tournament host Classic Club. He was 7-under with 36 holes remaining in his season debut.
Mickelson said that he couldn't get putts to drop and that the weather was obviously a factor in the scoring.
"The ball wasn't going anywhere and so the par-5s weren't reachable, and they were tough, too," he said.
The first four rounds of the Hope are a pro-am, with the field reduced to the 70 low-scoring pros and ties for Sunday's 18 holes at the Classic Club.
Defending champion Chad Campbell had a 70 after struggling to a 74 the second day. He was 18-under through the first three days and finished 25-under a year ago. This year, he's 2-under after 54 holes. ... David Duval had a 72 and was tied for 51st at 210. ... Rose holds a 54-hole lead for the third time in his PGA Tour career. He led the 2006 Canadian Open by one stroke (finished T14) and the 2005 Buick Championship by one stroke (finished third). Both were 72-hole tournaments.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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