Woods keeps 2-shot lead on tough day at Sherwood

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 7, 2013 at 7:07 pm •  Published: December 7, 2013
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THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — After a day of so much uncertainty about where the ball was going, Tiger Woods landed in a place where the outcome is rarely in doubt.

He was in the lead.

Woods survived a rough round of swirling swing at Sherwood on Saturday with two birdies on his last three holes. That enabled him to salvage an even-par 72 and maintain his two-shot lead over Zach Johnson going into the final round of the World Challenge.

Woods' round featured a tee shot into the water, a three-putt from 6 feet and a long delay on the 18th fairway as he tried to figure out which way the wind was blowing. He took a little off an 8-iron when he felt the wind switch yet again and holed a 12-foot birdie putt.

"I'm pleased at having the lead — not real pleased with the way I putted today," Woods said. "I left a few out there today."

But he wasn't alone.

The average score was just under 73, and everyone ran into problems somewhere along the way, particularly on the 15th, a par 3 that played to an average score of 4.17. Johnson made two double bogeys on par 3s on the back nine, and didn't feel as though he hit a poor shot on either hole. It was simply a matter of getting the wind to cooperate.

"I didn't take myself out of it," said Johnson, who also birdied two of the last three holes for a 72.

Woods was at 11-under 205, two shots ahead of Johnson, just like he started the day.

There are 18 holes to go, and Woods has a 48-5 lead worldwide when he has the outright lead going into Sunday. He has won all four times with the lead this year, and the last time he gave up a lead on Sunday was at Sherwood in 2010, when Graeme McDowell came from four shots behind and won in a playoff.

It can be done, and two shots can be erased in one hole in conditions like this.

Woods is trying to end his year with a sixth title, which would be the ninth time he's done that in his career. What began as an elite field of 18 players — all of them from the top 30 in the world ranking — has effectively been whittled to three barring a late charge from deep in the pack.

Bubba Watson was within one shot of the lead briefly until a three-putt bogey on the 18th, and two late birdies by Woods. Watson had a 69 and was four shots behind. No one else was within six shots of Woods.



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