Westwood, Ogilvy strike form
Palm Beach Gardens - England's Lee Westwood and Australian Geoff Ogilvy charged into contention at the US PGA Honda Classic on Saturday but an unheralded pair of Americans clung to the 54-hole lead.
Rookie Luke Guthrie, in only his ninth PGA event, and Michael Thompson each stood on eight-under par 202 after the third round of the $6m tournament with Westwood and Ogilvy both two strokes off the pace.
"I'm in a pretty good place, I think," Ogilvy said.
New local resident Westwood, Ogilvy and Thompson each fired a par 70 in the third round, while Guthrie, the 36-hole leader, settled for a 71 in cool and windy conditions.
"It was tricky," Westwood said. "We didn't have wind the last two days, so it came as a bit of a surprise. I acclimatized pretty quickly. I played quite nicely."
World number two Tiger Woods fired a 70 for the third day in a row. The 14-time major winner birdied two of the first three holes, added another at the eighth, then began the back nine with a bogey and made double bogey at the par-3 17th.
Woods was making a charge until finding a bunker at the 10th and missing an eight-foot par putt. At the 190-yard 17th, the player saw his tee shot roll back into the water and he two-putted from 20 feet after a drop to share 32nd.
"I thought realistically 5- or 6-under par would be a good score," Woods said. "I thought if I posted that, I would be within six or seven shots of the lead going into tomorrow at worst."
But he acknowledged that he was "probably just not quite driving it as well."
Westwood, who turns 40 next month, birdied the par-5 third but took bogeys at the par-3 fifth and two more to close the front nine. He answered with birdies at the 14th and par-3 17th.
Having recently moved to a nearby home has helped Westwood's victory bid this week, the British citizen said.
"It's nice to go home and sleep in your own bed and do some of the normal things you do, like take the kids to school," he said. "I've never had the opportunity before. There was never a tournament so close to my home in England."
Ogilvy, the 2006 US Open champion, has managed only one top-10 tour finish in the past 15 months, a share of ninth at last year's British Open and won the most recent of his seven PGA crowns in the 2010 season opener.
Ogilvy, 35, opened with back-to-back bogeys and followed a birdie at the third with a bogey on the fourth. But Ogilvy closed the front nine with back-to-back birdies and answered a bogey at the 16th by closing with a birdie.
"A good round, finished the front nine well," Ogilvy said. "Even par is a better-than-average score today, I think. It's not the best start, two-over after two, but I kept my head out there and came in with a pretty good card."
After twice answering bogeys with birdies on the front nine, Guthrie made bogey to start the back nine, then parred to the clubhouse, missing a 13-foot birdie putt at the par-5 18th that would have kept him in the outright lead.
Thompson sandwiched a bogey between two front-nine birdies, then began the back nine with two bogeys. He birdied the 12th and gave back a bogey at 16 before closing with a birdie to match Guthrie for the lead.
Westwood and Ogilvy were on 204 with Americans Charles Howell and Rickie Fowler on 205. Fowler's 69 included an eagle at the 18th.
South Korea's Yang Yong-Eun fired a bogey-free 67 on a day when the leaders struggled to stand on 206. Back-to-back birdies at the par-5 third and par-4 fourth and another at the 11th were enough to make a charge toward the top.
Joining him on 206 were England's Justin Rose, Canada's Graham DeLaet, Sweden's Peter Hanson and American Keegan Bradley, the 2011 PGA Championship winner.
Leading scores after the third round of the $6m US PGA Honda Classic (USA unless noted, par-70):
202 - Michael Thompson 67-65-70, Luke Guthrie 68-63-71
204 - Lee Westwood (ENG) 66-68-70, Geoff Ogilvy (AUS) 68-66-70
205 - Rickie Fowler 65-71-69, Charles Howell 67-67-71
- Yang Yong-Eun (KOR) 67-72-67, Peter Hanson (SWE) 71-67-68, Keegan
Bradley 68-68-70, Justin Rose (ENG) 68-66-72, Graham DeLaet (CAN)
207 - Darron Stiles 71-68-68, Erik Compton 69-68-70,
James Driscoll 69-68-70, Lucas Glover 69-66-72, Tom Gillis 67-68-72,
Nicholas Thompson 69-66-72, Boo Weekley 66-67-74
208 - David Lynn
(ENG) 72-68-68, Brandt Jobe 69-71-68, Kyle Stanley 70-69-69, Ben Kohles
66-73-69, Bob Estes 69-69-70, Graeme McDowell (NIR) 67-68-73, Sean
209 - Russell Henley 68-71-70, Charl Schwartzel
(RSA) 70-68-71, Mark Wilson 70-68-71, Chris Stroud 67-70-72, Jeff Klauk
67-69-73, Robert Streb 65-70-74