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Hoffman sinks putt to share Arnold Palmer Invitational lead

ORLANDO — Charley Hoffman would have been happy to get off the 18th hole at Bay Hill with a par and go into the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational within one shot of the lead. With one big putt, Saturday turned out better than he could have imagined.

From trampled grass left of the 18th fairway, Hoffman punched a 7-iron and had it run down the firm fairway.

The ball settled 70 feet away on the fringe, and Hoffman made the putt for birdie, 1-under 71 and a share of the lead with Kevin Kisner.

Kisner, who made three birdies in a four-hole stretch around the turn, wound up three-putting on No. 18 and shot 68.

The leaders were at 11-under 205, three shots clear of Tyrrell Hatton (67), Marc Leishman (71) and Matt Fitzpatrick (72) at 8-under 208.

Valspar Championship winner Adam Hadwin (69) and Lucas Glover (72) were four shots behind. Rory McIlroy, who started the weekend 11 shots out, birdied his last two holes for 65 and is five shots behind. Rickie Fowler also shot 65 and was six back.

At stake is a red cardigan sweater, a favorite of Palmer's, replacing the blue blazer that previously went to the winner.

"I'm not a cardigan guy. I got zero cardigans and hopefully add one," Hoffman said. "And it wouldn't be in the closet, it would be on the wall."

LPGA: Anna Nordqvist shot a tournament-record 11-under 61 and 21-under 195 for a two-stroke lead over Stacy Lewis and Ariya Jutanugarn in the Bank of Hope Founders Cup at Phoenix. Nordqvist broke the event's 54-hole record of 19 under by Ai Miyazato in 2013.

CHAMPIONS: Steve Stricker shot 10-under 63 for a three-stroke lead at 16-under 130 overall in the Tucson (Ariz.) Conquistadores Classic. Stricker, who turned 50 on Feb. 23, is trying to become the 19th player to win his first start on the 50-and-over tour. Tom Lehman (67) was second at 133. Fred Couples (70) fell to a tie for third with Kevin Sutherland (65) at 11-under 135.

TIGER'S manager RIPS REPORT: Tiger Woods' manager Mark Steinberg discounted a golfdigest.com report that indicates Woods "seems unlikely" to play the Masters in April. According to the report, Woods has not been able to practice since withdrawing from the Dubai Desert Classic last month because of back spasms. Steinberg told Golf Channel, "I couldn't give you a fair assessment, but to say it's doubtful is an absolutely inaccurate statement."

Hoffman sinks putt to share Arnold Palmer Invitational lead 03/18/17 [Last modified: Saturday, March 18, 2017 9:55pm]
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