Kaymer takes 1-shot lead into final round


Kaymer takes 1-shot lead into final round

SUN CITY, South Africa (AP) Martin Kaymer rolled in a tricky 10-foot par putt on the last hole for a 2-under 70 and a one-stroke lead on Saturday heading into the final round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge.

Europe's Ryder Cup star made three birdies and a bogey to move 5 under on an overcast and breezy day that ensured low scores were again out of reach at Gary Player Country Club.

Louis Oosthuizen (69) is second at 4 under, while fellow South African Charl Schwartzel (70) is two back from Kaymer.

Oosthuizen and Schwartzel are lined up for a final-day push for a first home win at Sun City since 2007, with Oosthuizen's 3-under-par round the fourth sub-70 score in three days of tough golf in South Africa.

Lee Westwood made a late move for an unprecedented third straight Nedbank title by shooting a 70 to sit three off the lead. Bill Haas of the United States stayed in contention with a 71 for a share of fourth with Westwood at 2 under.

With the narrow fairways and unforgiving rough already testing the 12-man field, muggy conditions made driving off the tee even more difficult.

The former top-ranked Kaymer holed the putt that retained the Ryder Cup at Medinah but he hasn't won anything else this year. He is in pole position for something else to celebrate in 2012 after a good par save on No. 12. Back-to-back birdies on Nos. 13 and 14 helped him to a three-round total of 211.

``You cannot play too aggressive at certain holes,'' Kaymer said of his plan for Sunday, ``and even if it is only a level-par round, it is still a good score. If you hit fairways here you have chances and that is my goal.''

Kaymer's position means a German double at Sun City is possible this week after Bernhard Langer won the seniors event earlier Saturday.

``Golf is just a matter of sticking to your plan,'' Kaymer said of his subdued year away from the Ryder Cup. ``I have another 20 years ahead of me. Maybe another 30 if you see Bernhard.''

Oosthuizen had five birdies and two dropped shots. Schwartzel made three birdies and one bogey.

``All in all, the golf course is getting the better of everyone,'' Oosthuizen said.

Gary Player's course snagged overnight leader Paul Lawrie, with the Scot bogeying four of his first eight holes to battle to a 75 and slip down to sixth at 1 under. Francesco Molinari made a 78 to be equal eighth.

Westwood, the best player of the Sun City layout during the last two years, found some momentum with three birdies on his back nine but he also made back-to-back bogeys at Nos. 12 and 13 to slow his progress and leave him with a three-shot deficit to make up for a third straight triumph to make Sun City history.

Peter Hanson's 73 left him seventh on 2 over. Justin Rose had a 69 - after a 79 on Friday - to move to a tie for eighth alongside Carl Pettersson (74) and Molinari at 5 over.

An eagle on No. 9 made little difference for Nicholas Colsaerts, who shot a 74 for 11th. South Africa's Garth Mulroy is last at 7-over after a 75.

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John Wall goes through full practice for first time since left knee surgery

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John Wall goes through full practice for first time since left knee surgery

John Wall crossed one of the biggest hurdles of his months-long recovery from arthroscopic left knee surgery on Saturday by participating in his first full practice.

That means Wall went through 5-on-5 scrimmages with teammates that included contact. He is free of restrictions.

Now it is only a matter of days before Wall is ready to return to game action.

"John did everything, he did an entire practice which was great," head coach Scott Brooks said. "I thought he did a great job offensively and defensively."


Wall, who last played on Jan. 25 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, has missed the Wizards' last 24 games. He has been absent for 35 of their 72 total games this season.

In the months he has been out, Wall has slowly worked his way to this point. He still has to get a few more practices under his belt before the Wizards can outline a target date for his return.

Wall was aggressive in testing his knee by attacking the basket, according to Brooks. Wall was moving around well and even lost a few pounds during his time off.

"He looks great and that's not easy with time off," Brooks said. "He will be back in no time."


The Wizards have gone 14-10 since Wall went down, an impressive mark especially considering how tough their schedule shook out. Most of those games came against teams with winning records either holding playoff spots or fighting for them.

The shine, though, is wearing off. They have lost two straight games and seven of their last 11. Their offense has stalled in recent defeats and it's become more and more clear they could use Wall's presence.

"He gives us that edge," Wall said. "When you have him on the floor, you get a lot of easy shots. John creates a lot of attention when he drives to the basket... I think [his teammates] have always appreciated it, but when you don't have him around you definitely miss it."

While the Wizards continue to wait for Wall to return to games, just having him in practices helps. Brooks explained how guarding a player of Wall's caliber, a five-time All-Star, raises the intensity level of their scrimmages. If his teammates do not bring their best effort, Wall can very easily expose them.


There is also something intangible about Wall's presence. The media sees it once the doors open at practice. He is talkative and energetic on the court.

Some of his teammates even described him as "loud."

"Sometimes I tell him that he's a little too loud," guard Bradley Beal said. "But that's the energy that we've missed."

"He brings the juice. He brings the energy level up," Brooks said. "You miss his spirit. You miss the way he interacts with guys. He's fiery and competitive. He gets after guys. He cheers guys on. I like that. I like guys that show emotion and passion on the court."

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Wizards display lack of urgency in loss to Nuggets and Scott Brooks is frustrated

Wizards display lack of urgency in loss to Nuggets and Scott Brooks is frustrated

Following their seventh loss in 11 games and another lackluster performance in key areas, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks reverted back to a critique that characterized many defeats months ago. He called into question the effort of his team, more specifically their urgency. How they could overlook the stakes at this point of the season and with so much on the line had escaped him.

Brooks wasn't pleased following Washington's 108-100 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday night. He didn't like their three-point defense, their inability to force turnovers and their lack of zip on offense. But overall, it was the apparent lack of realization that time is running out in the regular season and off-nights cannot be afforded.

"We have to play with more spirit [and] we have to take some pride in our home court," Brooks said. "We’re building our habits going into the playoffs and these are moments where we need to take advantage because it’s playoff implications in every game."


Pride is something Brooks has referenced after the Wizards' worst defeats since he took over. This one didn't qualify, as they only lost by eight points and had opportunities late to write a different ending. But they were playing a team fighting for their own playoff position in the opposite conference and for the most part did not match their intensity.

The Nuggets, to put it plainly, are among the worst defensive teams in basketball. They were missing their leading scorer, Gary Harris. And they tightened their rotation to just eight players.

Yet the Wizards only managed 100 points, six below their season average, and committed 17 turnovers. Aside from their 33-point third quarter, the Wizards' offense was effectively stalled. 

"We can’t have guys that are not going to participate with hard cuts and hard setups and good screens. We need everybody. It’s not one person, it’s all," Brooks said.


The Wizards only forced 10 turnovers on the Nuggets and only three in the first half. That held back their offense in the sense they had few opportunities for fastbreak buckets.

"That’s where we get most of our offense from anyways, getting stops, getting out in transition," forward Otto Porter said.

The Wizards have lost two straight games. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers and Pacers both won on Friday night.

The Wizards are sixth place in the East and just 1 1/2 games out of fourth, but there is a huge difference in those spots. Sixth could mean meeting the Cavs in the first round and they have won three straight since Kevin Love returned from injury.


The Cavaliers could quickly become the most dangerous team in the Eastern Conference. Their record is deceiving due to Love's injury and they still boast LeBron James, the best player on the planet. No one can control a playoff series quite like he can.

An argument could be made the Wizards would be better off moving down than up, as the seventh spot would match them up with the injury-riddled Boston Celtics. The Wizards are just 1 1/2 games ahead of the seventh-seed Miami Heat.

The Wizards, though, would prefer to move up and they still have a chance to get into fourth, which would mean home court advantage.

John Wall will return at some point, likely soon. In the short-term, Brooks would like to some urgency and for his team to get back to the trademark ball movement that allowed them to go 10-3 in their first 13 games when Wall went down.

"We can get it back, but it’s not going to come back. We have to go get it. It’s time to do it; it’s time," Brooks said.

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