Woods eagles 18th again, increases lead to 6 shots
Advertiser News Services
Advertiser News Services
Even before Tiger Woods sank a 34-foot putt yesterday for his third straight eagle at the 18th, Adam Scott was bemoaning how tough it is to try to catch him.
"He slips it into fifth and no one even gets close," said Scott, fresh from a 65 that makes him, at 13-under par, 6 shots behind Woods and his closest pursuer going into today's final round of the American Express Championship at Chandler's Cross, England.
As Woods guns for his sixth straight win on the PGA Tour, his eighth victory this season and 12 in 22 in World Golf Championships, he has had his game in fifth gear most of the week.
His course-record 8-under 63 on Thursday was a thing of beauty. He followed with a 64 on Friday during which he said he struck the ball even better.
Yesterday, on a cooler, windier day at The Grove, a resort and spa north of London, Woods shot 67 and increased his lead from 5 to 6 shots heading into the final round.
"I hit it far better than I did the first two days and made absolutely nothing," Woods said. "It was a struggle on the greens all day. Didn't have the feel, didn't have the pace, and consequently, I missed a bunch of short ones early in the round."
Complaints to the contrary, Woods had only one three putt yesterday. And whatever short putts he missed early on, he made up for at the 18th, where he rolled in a cross-green bomb for eagle to get to 19 under.
That gave him his widest cushion of the day. Early in the round, as Woods carded seven straight pars, two players cut the margin to 2 shots. First, David Howell (71) got to 13 under before fading to 10 under; Stewart Cink (70) did the same before slipping to 11 under.
Besides Scott, Woods' closest threats are Jim Furyk (69) and Brett Quigley (67), both 7 shots back at 12 under.
Six shots ahead, however, this one's pretty much in the bag. Woods has never coughed up this kind of lead before, and no one has ever chased him down.
Woods, who is well known around the PGA Tour for teeing off in practice rounds within minutes of first daylight, will be paired today with Scott, once a frequent practice partner.
Why no more?
"You can only wake up at 4 (a.m.) so many times," said Scott, smiling. "It's a little early. When I go out there at quarter to 6 and he was already on the second hole — he wasn't waiting for me to get my shoes out of the locker."
Yesterday, Scott mouthed all the right stuff about giving it his all against Woods, especially after he was reminded of beating his buddy Ernie Els three weeks ago at the Singapore Open. But deep down, Scott didn't sound hopeful about his chances today.
"To beat Tiger Woods down the stretch at the World Golf Championship is a whole different story," Scott said. "Anyone who beat Tiger coming from behind is obviously a bit of a legend."
TRAHAN LEADS BY TWO
D.J. Trahan shook off a double bogey to maintain a two-stroke lead in the Southern Farm Bureau Classic, birdieing the final two holes for a 1-under 71 on the Annandale Golf Club course at Madison, Miss.
Trahan, who has led after all three rounds, had a 12-under 204 total after opening with rounds of 65 and 68. Two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen (67) was second, and Daniel Chopra (68) and Brad Faxon (72) followed at 9 under.
BEAN SEEKS FIRST WIN
Andy Bean remained in position for his first Champions Tour victory, shooting a 2-under 70 to take a two-stroke lead into the final round of the Greater Hickory Classic at Conover, N.C.
Bean, who matched his senior best with an opening 63, had an 11-under 133 total on the Rock Barn Golf and Spa's Jones Course. The 53-year-old Bean is in his fourth season on the 50-and-over tour after winning 11 times on the PGA Tour.
Two-time U.S. Senior Open champion Allen Doyle was second after a 66.