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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, March 7, 2010

Villegas smokes Honda field

Associated Press

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Camilo Villegas

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PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. Ashes fell from the sky, smoke filled the air and a thick haze hovered over PGA National.

Some might have found breathing difficult at the Honda Classic.

Camilo Villegas wasn't among them.

Once threatening to run away after a sizzling start, Villegas came back to the pack on his back nine and wound up rallying to take a three-shot lead over Nathan Green and Vijay Singh after three rounds. Villegas is at 11-under 199, so even after making three bogeys in a five-hole stretch in what became a round of 67, he'll be the one to catch today.

"I'm sleeping in my own bed this week, which is always nice," said Villegas, one of many tour players who call South Florida home. "I've been nice and relaxed. So we'll show up tomorrow the same way and try to play some good golf."

Green (67) and Singh (69) are at 8 under, while George McNeill (66) and Matt Every (69) were tied for fourth at 6 under. Anthony Kim, who shared the 36-hole lead with Villegas, shot 73 and wound up six shots back entering the final round, tied with Michael Connell (69).

It's not over, Villegas quickly pointed out.

"Golf tournaments are four days," Villegas said. "So with that said, you've got to put four good rounds together and see what happens at the end."

A planned fire in Jonathan Dickinson State Park, about 14 miles north of PGA National Resort and Spa, made an already tough course even tougher, sending thick plumes of smoke, ash and haze down directly toward the course. Play wasn't halted, though the day was clearly affected.


Toshiba Classic: Fred Couples moved into position for his second straight Champions Tour victory, shooting a 7-under 64 yesterday to take a two-stroke lead in the Toshiba Classic at Newport Beach, Calf.

Couples, making his third start on the 50-and-over tour, had a 12-under 130 total on the Newport Beach Country Club course. He won the ACE Group Classic on Feb. 14 in Florida. Last week, Couples tied for 14th in the PGA Tour's Phoenix Open.

Tom Lehman (65) and Taiwan's Chien Soon Lu (67) were tied for second.

Australian Ladies Masters: Six-time champion Karrie Webb birdied the final hole for an 8-under 64 for a 15-under 201 total and a one-stroke lead in the Australian Ladies Masters at Gold Coast. South Korea's Lee Bo-mee (63) and defending champion Katherine Hull (65) were at 202.