Golf

Tiger leads, Ernie lurks

2012-03-25 09:16
Tiger Woods (File)

Orlando - Tiger Woods, who is chasing his first win on the USPGA Tour in 30 months, fired a one-under par 71 on Saturday for a one-shot lead heading into the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

The 14-time major champion Woods has won a record six times on the Bay Hill course and is aiming for his first PGA Tour victory since the 2009 BMW Championship.

"I enjoy it," Woods said. "It's not like I'm slashing it all over the place and happened to be at 11-under par.

"If you're in the lead, you've done some good things. That's how I've always looked at it, and it's a nice position to be in."

Woods finished three rounds at 11-under par 205.

He could have had a bigger lead but he posted a double bogey on No. 15 after hooking a tee shot out of bounds. He led by as much as four shots on the back nine in the third round.

Woods will be paired on Sunday with 2010 US Open champion Graeme McDowell, who shot a one-under 71 to reach 10-under 206.

South Africa's Ernie Els fired a five-under 67 to move into a share of third place at eight-under 208. He was joined by Ian Poulter, who shot 68. Johnson Wagner (69) and Charles Howell (68) are tied for fifth at seven-under.

South Korea's Charlie Wi stumbled to a four-over 76 to move into a share of seventh with Kevin Na (69) at six-under 210. Wi shared the second-round lead with Woods.

Woods and McDowell were the only two golfers in the final five groups to break par Saturday.

Woods and McDowell were paired together in the final round of the 2010 Chevron World Challenge. McDowell birdied the first playoff hole to defeat Woods.

Woods boasts an impressive 37-2 record on the PGA Tour when he has a lead heading into the final round. The last time Woods had an outright lead after 54 holes of a PGA Tour event was at the BMW Championship.

Woods was the tee at 15 when he was distracted in the middle of his swing by a scream from someone in the gallery. He hooked the shot out of bounds and had to take a double bogey on the hole.

That allowed McDowell to briefly catch him but Woods made birdie on 16 to regain his lead.

"I found out that an 18-year-old kid fainted and a woman screamed," Woods said. "I tried to stop my swing, but I was past the point of no return and flipped it out of bounds."

Woods registered a par at No. 17 and then two-putted for par at 18 to close out his round.

"Bad break there at 15 with what went on, but it's just the way it goes," Woods said. "But I really played well today. I made one bad shot there at 14, which cost me a shot. Other than that, there wasn't a lot going on."

Els is hoping for a good performance on Sunday so he can qualify for the Masters.

"I've got to almost win, or something like that," Els said. "But if I'm in, I'm in. And if I'm not, I'm just glad my game is coming around. Whatever happens, I feel like I can have a good year now. I feel like the hard work is starting to pay off."

Scores from the US PGA Tour Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, Florida on Saturday (par-72): 205 Tiger Woods (U.S.) 69 65 71 206 Graeme McDowell (Britain) 72 63 71 208 Ernie Els (South Africa) 71 70 67

Ian Poulter (Britain) 71 69 68 209 Charles Howell III (U.S.) 73 68 68

Johnson Wagner (U.S.) 71 69 69 210 Kevin Na (U.S.) 73 68 69

Charlie Wi (South Korea) 66 68 76 211 Bud Cauley (U.S.) 70 73 68

Sean O'Hair (U.S.) 69 72 70

Zach Johnson (U.S.) 71 68 72

Chris Stroud (U.S.) 70 69 72

Bubba Watson (U.S.) 69 70 72 212 Webb Simpson (U.S.) 73 66 73

Justin Rose (Britain) 69 69 74

Jason Dufner (U.S.) 66 69 77 213 Noh Seung-Yul (South Korea) 73 73 67

Tim Herron (U.S.) 74 71 68

Brian Davis (Britain) 70 73 70

Gary Woodland (U.S.) 75 68 70

Trevor Immelman (South Africa) 73 69 71

Ryan Moore (U.S.) 71 71 71

K.J. Choi (South Korea) 69 72 72

Marc Leishman (Australia) 70 71 72 214 Greg Owen (Britain) 73 74 67

Josh Teater (U.S.) 74 73 67

Jim Furyk (U.S.) 72 72 70

John Rollins (U.S.) 71 72 71

Martin Laird (Britain) 72 68 74

Sergio Garcia (Spain) 72 67 75

Vijay Singh (Fiji) 71 68 75 215 Henrik Stenson (Sweden) 72 74 69

Jeff Overton (U.S.) 76 70 69

Phil Mickelson (U.S.) 73 71 71

Anthony Kim (U.S.) 69 74 72

Kevin Chappell (U.S.) 73 69 73

Daniel Summerhays (U.S.) 72 70 73 216 Chad Campbell (U.S.) 71 76 69

D.J. Trahan (U.S.) 76 70 70

Brian Gay (U.S.) 72 73 71

Hunter Mahan (U.S.) 72 73 71

Kris Blanks (U.S.) 71 72 73

Camilo Villegas (Colombia) 73 69 74

Davis Love III (U.S.) 70 72 74 217 Brian Harman (U.S.) 77 69 71

Lee Janzen (U.S.) 74 72 71

Matt Every (U.S.) 73 72 72

Bill Haas (U.S.) 73 72 72

Jimmy Walker (U.S.) 69 72 76 218 Mark Wilson (U.S.) 77 70 71

Ryo Ishikawa (Japan) 73 74 71

Boo Weekley (U.S.) 74 72 72

Michael Thompson (U.S.) 74 72 72

George McNeill (U.S.) 73 72 73

Rod Pampling (Australia) 75 70 73

Justin Leonard (U.S.) 75 70 73 219 Robert Allenby (Australia) 72 75 72

Charley Hoffman (U.S.) 76 71 72

Dicky Pride (U.S.) 74 73 72

Martin Flores (U.S.) 74 72 73

Skip Kendall (U.S.) 71 73 75 220 Fredrik Jacobson (Sweden) 77 70 73

Andres Romero (Argentina) 73 74 73

J.B. Holmes (U.S.) 71 75 74

Nick Watney (U.S.) 68 73 79 221 John Huh (U.S.) 77 70 74

Bobby Gates (U.S.) 74 72 75

Scott Stallings (U.S.) 74 72 75 222 Billy Hurley III (U.S.) 75 72 75 223 Colt Knost (U.S.) 76 71 76

Brandt Snedeker (U.S.) 73 73 77 224 Chez Reavie (U.S.) 73 74 77

William McGirt (U.S.) 73 74 77

Tom Gillis (U.S.) 79 66 79 225 Jhonattan Vegas (Venezuela) 76 70 79

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