Monday, June 25, 2018

Tiger Woods shoots tourney-low 66 at Doral

DORAL — Patrick Reed turned his game around in four holes Saturday and wound up with 3-under 69, giving him a two-shot lead at the Cadillac Championship going into a final round that will prominently feature Tiger Woods for the first time this year.

Reed rolled in a 40-foot eagle putt on No. 8 and started the back nine with consecutive birdies. He drove the green on the par-4 16th for a two-putt birdie and wound up at 4-under 212, two shots ahead of Jason Dufner (68) and Hunter Mahan (71).

Woods delivered the tournament's low round with 6-under 66 and stands three shots back.

He made three birdie putts of about 15 feet or longer on the back nine, including a 35-footer down the slope on the par-5 15th.

"It was nice to get back in the tournament again," Woods said.

Reed, 23, will be going for his third win in his past 14 tournaments, dating to the Wyndham Championship in August. Reed said he has never played with Woods and won't lose his focus if Woods challenges his lead.

"Whenever he's close to the lead, he's a guy you have to watch out for. But at the same time, I have to go and just play my own game," Reed said.

The lack of big wind on the new Blue Monster resulted in average scores down to 72.6, compared with 76.0 in the second round of the World Golf Championships event.

"Now it's playing more like a normal course," Woods said.

Woods converted four birdies in his opening eight holes to go out in 33. He made birdie putts of 15 feet on No. 11, 20 feet on the par-5 20th, then followed his long birdie putt on the 15th with a bunker shot that narrowly cleared the clip and settled a few feet away for birdie on the 16th.

His only blunders came on par 3s — a three-putt bogey on No. 4 and taking two shots to get out of the bunker on No. 13.

"I held it together (Friday) — a long day, tough day — and that gave me a chance (Saturday)," said Woods, who struggled with 1-over 73 in the second round.

"I figured, 'Hey, I'm only six back. That's definitely doable, especially with the conditions and how difficult this golf course is playing. If I just get back to even par for the tournament, I'll be right there.' And I did one better," Woods said.

Dustin Johnson birdied the last hole for 73 that put him at par 216, along with Miguel Angel Jimenez (69) and Zach Johnson (71). Bubba Watson had 72 to stay five shots back.

After being a shot off the lead, Rory McIlroy (75) fell out of contention. He hit into the water on the par-5 eighth with his second shot and the par-5 10th with his tee shot. He double bogeyed both. Phil Mickelson's 69 was his best round of the tournament, putting him six back with McIlroy.

APOLOGY: Hideki Matsuyama apologized to Ian Poulter and the other two players behind him a day after damaging the 13th green with his putter in the second round and walking off the green without repairing it.

Poulter posted a series of messages on Twitter in which he called Matsuyama an "idiot." Matsuyama missed a 7-foot par putt and slammed his putter into the green, leaving what one caddie described as a half-inch gash.

"I made loads of mistakes," Poulter told him. "If you're going to do it, repair it."

PGA: Chesson Hadley took the third-round lead in the Puerto Rico Open, shooting 5-under 67 for 16-under 200 at Rio Grande. Danny Lee was a stroke back after 66. Jason Gore (66) and Jonathan Byrd (67) were tied for third at 14 under.

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