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Woods joins logjam for lead in Orlando

Sean O’Hair holes out for a round of 63 at Bay Hill, putting the PODS Championship winner 
in the final group alongside Tiger Woods for today’s fourth round in Orlando.

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Sean O’Hair holes out for a round of 63 at Bay Hill, putting the PODS Championship winner in the final group alongside Tiger Woods for today’s fourth round in Orlando.

ORLANDO — Arnold Palmer was walking into the locker room Saturday morning at Bay Hill when he bumped into Tiger Woods, who recently surpassed him on the PGA Tour's win list.

"He told me to get off my butt and play a good round," Woods said.

He responded with birdies on the three toughest holes at Bay Hill for 4-under 66 and a five-way tie for the lead. Blustery conditions contributed to a series of failures late in the afternoon, turning the Arnold Palmer Invitational into quite a show.

When the zany, windy and splash-filled afternoon ended, Woods was in a familiar position as he tries to extend a winning streak that spans seven months.

Woods will be in today's final pairing with Sean O'Hair, who won last week at the PODS Championship in Palm Harbor. At Bay Hill he finished with 63 before the leaders teed off.

Those two were at 6-under 204, joined by Bart Bryant (68), Bubba Watson (68) and Vijay Singh, whose 73 made this logjam possible.

Singh led by two until dropping five shots in four holes to shoot 40 on the front nine. He hit three balls in the water but chipped in from 30 feet for par on the last miscue to stay in the hunt.

Woods never looked to be part of it until two spectacular shots in the toughest conditions. He carved a 4-iron around the trees to 2 feet on No.  15 for birdie then followed with a 7-iron that held up against the wind and dropped softly to 3 feet right of the flag.

"I've played my way back into the tournament," said Woods, who finished two hours before the round ended.

Woods is 42-3 with at least a share of the 54-hole lead on the tour, but two of those losses came when he shared the lead. He has never started a final round tied with more than one player.

And it's not just the other four still in the hunt. Sixteen players were separated by three shots.

LPGA: Lorena Ochoa fought to recover from a rough first round in the MasterCard Classic in Huixquilucan, Mexico, shooting 2-under 70. The top-ranked Mexican star wound up 11 strokes behind leader Ji-Young Oh coming into today's final round.

Ochoa was coming off an opening 76, her highest score in nearly a year.

Oh, 19, of South Korea, had five birdies in a bogey-free 67 to top the leaderboard at 9-under 135 — two shots ahead of another 19-year-old, Taiwan's Yani Tseng.

CHAMPIONS: Brad Bryant shot 5-under 67 to take a two-stroke lead after the second round of the AT&T Classic in Santa Clarita, Calif. First-round leader Nick Price (77) was six back. Bryant was at 137 total and nearly had his second eagle of the round on No.  18 when his 66-yard wedge spun past the hole, leaving 3 feet for birdie. Jay Haas (68), Bernhard Langer (68), R.W. Eaks (68), Tom Jenkins (68) and Loren Roberts (70) were tied for second.

FUTURES: Kim Welch had 70 for the second straight day to take a one-stroke lead after two rounds of the Bright House Networks Open at Cleveland Heights Golf Course in Lakeland. She was at 140, with Taya Battistella, Y.J. Jin and Chella Choi at 141. First-round leader Sae Hee Son (76) was one of six players another stroke back. Kelly Lagedrost (72—144) of Brooksville and USF was tied for 14th. Tampa's Elizabeth Stuart (74) was at 149.

Woods joins logjam for lead in Orlando 03/15/08 [Last modified: Sunday, March 16, 2008 12:16am]
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