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Westwood-DeChambeau rematch set at Gamers

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — One week later, the 2 main characters and the roles they play are nonetheless the identical.

Solely the stage — and the stakes — have modified.

Lee Westwood went from shock to please when his tee shot to the island inexperienced on the par-3 seventeenth stayed on the highest ridge, after which he trickled in a 25-foot birdie putt that carried him to a 4-under 68 on Saturday on the Gamers Championship.

Bryson DeChambeau pumped his highly effective arms twice when he made a 15-foot par putt on the 18th gap, giving him a 67 and leaving him 2 photographs behind and within the last group with Westwood.

That is the way it was final week at Bay Hill, when DeChambeau got here from 1 shot behind to beat Westwood with a par on the ultimate gap on the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

“It is like Spherical 2, the rematch,” Westwood stated.

Westwood, who turns 48 subsequent month, not has to go up a couple of courses to face DeChambeau, golf’s fearsome heavyweight. Not like Bay Hill, TPC Sawgrass is all about place, not energy.

Then once more, DeChambeau is enjoying nicely sufficient for any fashion of golf course.

“I suppose when you sat Bryson down right here and also you requested him which golf course would go well with him extra, he’d most likely say Bay Hill,” Westwood stated. “You may open your shoulders just a little bit extra round Bay Hill than you possibly can round right here. This place is just a little bit extra strategic. However credit score to Bryson. You would not affiliate this golf course along with his fashion of play, and he is up there. It reveals he can adapt his sport.”

It’s the first time the identical two gamers are within the last group in consecutive PGA Tour occasions in additional than 14 years, with one huge distinction. This one is separated by seven days. Vijay Singh and Adam Scott confronted off 9 weeks aside — the season-ending Tour Championship in 2006 and the season-opening Mercedes Championship at Kapalua.

Westwood capped off his spherical with a 5-foot par putt, extending his streak to 44 holes and not using a bogey, and he has dropped solely 2 photographs this week on a Stadium Course the place one swing can result in an enormous quantity.

Westwood was at 13-under 203.

“He is making a whole lot of superb putts, too,” DeChambeau stated. “That is what it takes to win golf tournaments.”

Westwood has 41 victories all over the world — a minimum of one on each main tour of the Worldwide Federation of PGA Excursions — and is aware of higher than to get caught up with DeChambeau, particularly right here.

He had the 54-hole lead on the Gamers in 2010 when 14 gamers had been separated by 5 photographs going into the ultimate spherical, and Tim Clark rallied from 3 behind to win.

Amongst these 3 photographs again going into Sunday is Justin Thomas, who began with 4 straight birdies and capped off his 64 with a 5-iron that stopped inches away from the outlet on the par-5 sixteenth for a tap-in eagle.

Doug Ghim, who’s making his debut within the Gamers, is also 3 photographs behind. He was amongst seven gamers who had a minimum of a share of the lead at one level Saturday and was motoring alongside till one expensive swing on the simplest gap, the par-5 sixteenth. He got here up nicely quick in a bunker beneath a tree, tried to blast low beneath the limbs and caught the tough and wound up along with his lone bogey.

Paul Casey had six birdies and an eagle to offset his errors in a 67, leaving him 4 photographs behind with Jon Rahm (67). Additionally 4 photographs behind is Brian Harman, who started his day by holing a wedge for eagle and shot 69.

Sergio Garcia is 5 photographs behind and nonetheless cannot deal with the quick putts, together with a 4-footer for birdie that missed badly on the low aspect on the seventeenth. He needed to accept a 72.

DeChambeau cannot blast away at Sawgrass due to the bending tree-lined fairways and water hazards. However his energy nonetheless is useful. Along with his tee shot buried in deep tough proper of the 18th fairway some 210 yards away, he ripped an 8-iron to only wanting the inexperienced and arrange his probability at par.

He acted extra enthusiastic about that par than his six birdies.

“You have to make these to win tournaments,” he stated. “I did not wish to depart a bitter style in my mouth.”

Westwood stated this might be the most important win of his profession, and whereas there have been instances he selected to not play as a European Tour member, there isn’t any denying the energy of the sphere — 48 of the highest 50 gamers — and the character of a Sawgrass course the place fortunes can change with a single swing.

First prize is price $2.7 million.

For DeChambeau, it is an opportunity to stamp himself as the favourite because the Masters nears, if he isn’t already. He already has two victories this season. He additionally is aware of from latest expertise — seven days in the past — that it won’t be straightforward the way in which Westwood is enjoying.

“Mr. Consistency,” DeChambeau known as him. “I imply, his driving is impeccable, his iron play is impeccable and he makes putts when he must. Fortuitously for me final week, I used to be capable of get the job executed, and I feel tomorrow goes to be an unimaginable battle.”