LA QUINTA, Calif. (AP) — Whether it’s the precocious rookie, the long-hitting Bubba or another fresh face, there’s a good chance somebody will end a long week at the Bob Hope Classic Monday by lifting a PGA Tour trophy for the first time.
Bubba Watson and rookie Alex Prugh finished at 23-under 265 to share a one-stroke advantage over Bill Haas and Tim Clark after four rounds Sunday. Fourteen players still were within five shots of the leaders in a tournament light on star power, but loaded with intriguing possibilities.
Watson, Prugh, Haas and South Africa’s Clark have never won on the PGA Tour, while fifth-place Joe Ogilvie has just one win. (Read PGA Tour Confidential, our weekly roundtable with the experts from Sports Illustrated and Golf Magazine.)
“Tomorrow is going to be a tough day no matter if I had the lead, was tied for the lead, or one back, or five back,” said Watson, who plans to buy a replica of the General Lee car from “The Dukes of Hazzard” television series if he wins. “Tomorrow is going to be a fun day. This is what we live for. The more chances I get to win, maybe I’ll get one to luckily fall in and win one.”
Watson, Prugh and Ogilvie all had late chances to create a little separation late Sunday, but all three made mistakes better suited to their amateur playing partners, most of whom stuck around after rain washed out Thursday’s play and pushed the finale to Monday.
Watson finished up his 3-under 69 by double-bogeying the final hole, dropping him back into a tie with Prugh, who missed a 3-foot putt to bogey his own final hole. Ogilvie sat two strokes back after a double bogey on his 17th.
“You can’t have double bogeys and win the Hope,” Ogilvie said.
Actually, you probably can this year. The famed tournament features none of the PGA Tour’s top 35 players, creating golden opportunities for the top four players heading into the final round at the Arnold Palmer Private course at PGA West.
After knocking his second shot into the water and then missing a 6-foot putt on the par-4 18th, Watson matched Prugh (70) at 23 under. Haas and Clark both shot 66s, while Ogilvie (68) followed at 21 under, and Mike Weir was in a group another stroke behind after his fourth straight 67.
“The emotions, they’re flowing, they’re going up and down out there,” said Haas, whose father, Jay, won the Hope Classic in 1988. “If there’s good weather (Monday), it’s going to take a 66 to have a chance. I don’t even know if that will win tomorrow.”
Prugh, the 25-year-old former University of Washington star making his third PGA Tour start, missed an easy putt to bogey his final hole on the SilverRock course, finishing another self-described unremarkable round. He still claims the Hope Classic doesn’t feel much more stressful than events on the Nationwide Tour, where he won the New Zealand Open last year.
“The way things were going the first three days, where the scores were going, I definitely didn’t think 2 under would keep me in it,” said Prugh, who opened the Hope Classic with a 64-66-65 start. “It’s definitely what I expected to feel. I feel like I’ve been in this situation before.”
Ogilvie appeared the angriest at himself after he double-bogeyed the 17th at La Quinta. Ogilvie, whose only PGA Tour victory came in Milwaukee in 2007, paid the price for guessing at a yardage distance.
“My caddie was about 30 yards off,” said Ogilvie, who hadn’t made a bogey since early in the second round. “I had uncertainty on the tee, and it’s a mistake to hit driver when you’re not confident standing there.”
Watson held a lead going into the final round twice before, but failed to win the 2007 Houston Open and 2008 Arnold Palmer Invitational.
The cut claimed several of the tournament’s bigger names, including Justin Leonard, Rocco Mediate, David Duval, Jesper Parnevik, Chad Campbell and highly touted 21-year-old rookie Rickie Fowler, whose first two tournaments of 2010 have been nothing special. Fowler missed the cut last week in Hawaii, and he didn’t crack 70 in his four rounds in the Palm Springs desert.
The Hope Classic had its second straight day of postcard-perfect Palm Springs scoring weather, with no real breeze and ideal temperatures. The beautiful conditions even brought out a family of eight bighorn sheep, which moseyed out of the craggy cliffs and onto the 16th hole on the Palmer course to chew on some grass.
The sheep ambled back up into the rocks before the group containing Parnevik, long-hitting former Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde and “Burn Notice” actor Jeffrey Donovan reached the hole.
DIVOTS: Mike and Jay Haas could become the eighth father-son combo to win on the PGA Tour. … All but a handful of amateurs and celebrities stuck around an extra day to play the fourth rounds Sunday. … Jeff Maggert withdrew after eight holes with flulike symptoms.