National Sports Briefs
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. ó Alex Cejka made a 5-foot birdie putt on the final hole to end a wild and steamy Saturday at The Players Championship that left yet another surprising development: Tiger Woods in the final group.
Cejka kept out of the water over the closing holes and wound up with an even-par 72 to build a five-shot lead, the largest after three rounds in the 36 years of this prestigious event.
But the work might just be starting. He has a date Sunday in the final group with the world’s No. 1 player.
Woods appeared to be struggling throughout the scorching afternoon, where temperatures climbed into the 90s. He had to hit one shot left-handed from the base of a pine. He made a putt from 50 feet and missed others from inside 10 feet.
But he got a huge break at the end of his round.
He two-putted for birdie on the 16th and made a slick 8-foot birdie on the island-green 17th before again hitting his tee shot into the trees, about a yard away from where he was on Friday. But his 6-iron came out hot and toward the left side, running through the green and tumbling toward the water until the Bermuda rough grabbed the ball a foot from going into the pond.
Woods chipped to 4 feet and saved par for an even-par 70.
He left the course not knowing he would improve 20 positions to a tie for second, let alone play in the last group.
– WILLIAMSBURG, Va. ó Lindsey Wright shot a 7-under 64, and Cristie Kerr had a 66 to share the third-round lead in Michelob Ultra Open, while top-ranked Lorena Ochoa had a 74 to drop five strokes back.
-TURIN, Italy ó John Daly was tied for 11th at 6 under after a 69.
METAIRIE, La. ó New Orleans Saints rookie linebacker Stanley Arnoux ruptured his left Achilles’ tendon Friday.
The fourth-round pick from Wake Forest will have surgery next week. Most Achilles’ tendons tears require being sidelined for a full season.
During four seasons at Wake Forest, Arnoux started 42 games. While he played mostly inside linebacker for the Deamon Deacons during his last two seasons, coach Sean Payton said the Saints targeted Arnoux for weakside linebacker, a position Arnoux played his freshman and sophomore seasons.
– FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. ó The Atlanta Falcons can only hope that first-round pick Peria Jerry stays healthy in his rookie season. Drafted 24th overall out of Ole Miss, Jerry left the early session of Atlanta’s mini-camp Saturday morning with a sprained right knee and didn’t return for the late-afternoon practice.
ATHENS, Ga. ó Georgia has suspended two football players, including tight end Bruce Figgins for six games, for violating team rules.