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American shoots a 67 as Tiger, McIlroy make their move
TIGER Woods and Rory McIlroy played their way into contention on Saturday at the Cadillac Championship but American Bubba Watson remained atop the leaderboard at the World Golf Championship event.
Watson fired a five-under 67 to stand on 17-under 199 through 54 holes. He was three strokes ahead of England's Justin Rose and American Keegan Bradley entering the final round of the US$8.5 million (RM26 million) event at Doral.
"I wanted to play good," Watson said. "I just tried to keep my head down and I somehow grinded out a pretty good score."
Watson, who fired a 62 on Friday to grab the lead, opened eagle-birdie, answered a bogey at the par-three fourth with a birdie on five and had back-to-back birdies before closing the front nine with another bogey.
Birdies at the par-five 12th and par-four 14th and a bogey at the par-four 16th followed by a pair of pars closed out his round in mixed fashion.
"I'm looking at it as a positive," Watson said. "Two three-putts, which is not technical or mental. I just didn't hit the speeds I needed to hit. I'm just looking forward to the challenge tomorrow."
Bradley fired a bogey-free 66 and said that was a greater feat than sinking six birdies. "It's playing real tough out there," he said.
Rose, who ran off four birdies in a row from the eighth through 11th holes, closed with a bogey to fall out of the final pairing on the final day with a round of 69.
Sweden's Peter Hanson was fourth on 204, one stroke ahead of Americans Matt Kuchar and Zach Johnson with American Johnson Wagner alone in seventh on 206.
McIlroy and Woods were next on 207 in a group that also included England's Luke Donald, Germany's Martin Kaymer, South African Charl Schwartzel and American Webb Simpson.
McIlroy, playing his first event as golf's World No 1, birdied the par-four second on a chip-in and added another at the third, then ran off three birdies in a row from the fifth through seventh holes and dropped another at the ninth.
"I chipped in a birdie at two. That sort of got me going," McIlroy said. "To shoot 30 with two pars on the par-fivess is pretty good."
When he eagled to begin the back nine and birdied the 12th, visions of a magical round of 59 to match the tour record crept into his mind. Bogeys at the par-four 14th and 16th ended that dream.
"I needed four more," said McIlroy, who posted a 65. "It's just a shame that I bogeyed 14 and I couldn't really get back in it."
Woods opened with three birdies in a row and added another at six before stumbling back with a bogey at the par-five eighth.
He started the back nine with a birdie, took bogeys at 12 and 14 but finished solid with birdies at 16 and 18, the last a four-footer after the closest approach shot at 18 of the day.
"I had it rolling and unfortunately made a mistake at eight and a mistake at 12," Woods said after signing for his 68. "Other than that it was a pretty good day."
Leading scores, 3rd rd (US unless stated): 199 Bubba Watson 70-62-67; 202 Keegan Bradley 69-67-66, Justin Rose (Eng) 69-64-69; 204 Peter Hanson (Swe) 70-65-69; 205 Matt Kuchar 72-67-66, Zach Johnson 70-68-67; 206 Johnson Wagner 70-69-67; 207 Rory McIlroy (Nir) 73-69-65, Webb Simpson 75-66-66, Tiger Woods 72-67-68, Luke Donald (Eng) 70-68-69, Charl Schwartzel (SA) 68-69-70, Martin Kaymer (Ger) 73-64-70; 208 Steve Stricker 69-70-69, Bo Van Pelt 73-65-70, Charles Howell 70-67-71, Adam Scott (Aus) 66-68-74; 209 Hunter Mahan 71-72-66, Graeme McDowell (Nir) 75-67-67, Greg Chalmers (Aus) 71-70-68. AFP