Alex Prugh's last name rhymes with "Who?"
That’s a good question – and a good young player leading the Bob Hope Classic.
The 25-year-old PGA Tour rookie out of the University of Washington surged ahead when the sun finally came out Saturday, shooting a 7-under 65 on the tough La Quinta course to take a one-stroke lead over Bubba Watson and fellow tour rookie Martin Flores.
With his third straight remarkably consistent round in the five-round, four-course tournament, Prugh pulled ahead at 21-under 195. Yet if the former Ferris High of Spokane star had any strong feelings after his second straight bogey-free round, he wasn’t letting on.
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“I was almost bored with myself a little bit,” said Prugh, who trailed Watson by two strokes entering the third round. “It’s not a bad thing. I was hitting the driver very well, and I kept on hitting fairway after fairway. … Boring rounds are actually fine with me.”
After finishing 72nd last week at the Sony Open, Prugh has played 41 straight holes without a bogey. He’s the first rookie to lead a round at the event since John Senden took the second-round lead in the 2002 tournament eventually won by Phil Mickelson.
Flores was every bit as impressive as Prugh, shooting the second straight 65 of his bogey-free tournament to tie second-round leader Watson (68), who rallied after a slow start on the Arnold Palmer Private course.
Joe Ogilvie (68) was four strokes back at 17 under. Chad Collins (69), Tim Clark (67) and Bill Haas (66) were 16 under, and Mike Weir (67) was 15 under.
Puyallup’s Ryan Moore was in a group of six one stroke back after carding a 6-under 66 on the Palmer course.
After rain washed out play Thursday and threatened Friday, the players finally reveled in perfect Palm Springs scoring weather.
The long-hitting Watson, who also is searching for his first PGA Tour win, was in prime position to pull away a bit after doing well on the two tougher courses during the rainy first two days, but he was 1 over after eight holes on the Palmer course Saturday before stringing together four birdies on the back nine.
“I just played bad,” said Watson, the tour’s second-longest driver last year. “The 68 was getting a lot out of my round today, so I’m not mad at a 68. It’s just (that) I wanted to play better. My caddie kept yelling at me, trying to get me to pay attention and stay focused. I just hung in there.”
Watson rallies, leads Couples by two
Tom Watson birdied six holes on the back nine for a 6-under 66 and a two-stroke lead over senior newcomer Fred Couples after the second round of the Champions Tour’s season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Kaupulehu-Kona, Hawaii.
Watson, 60, overcame a rocky start to card nine birdies and three bogeys for a 15-under 129 total. Couples shot a bogey-free 66.
Tom Lehman had a 67 to join Michael Allen (66) at 12 under.
German on top in Abu Dhabi
Germany’s Martin Kaymer shot his third straight 5-under 67 to take a one-stroke lead in the Abu Dhabi Championship.
Kaymer won the 2008 tournament and tied for second last year.
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and England’s Ian Poulter were tied for second. They both shot 67s.