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Palmer, O'Hair lead 'shootout' in Akron

Ryan Palmer shoots 7 under to share the lead at the Bridgestone Invitational, but 21 players are within five shots of first.

Associated Press

Ryan Palmer shoots 7 under to share the lead at the Bridgestone Invitational, but 21 players are within five shots of first.

AKRON, Ohio — Ryan Palmer is one of those players who can't walk by a leaderboard without looking. Even with his name at the top, he had to stare at the board a long time to get a feel for what was going on Saturday in the Bridgestone Invitational.

He was in good company. There was a lot of company.

Scoring was so good that seven players were tied for the lead with about three hours left in the third round. When the round was over, not much had changed.

Palmer, who birdied three of his last five holes for 7-under 63, shared the lead with Sean O'Hair, who had 64. But with 21 players separated by five shots, all that meant was they would be the last to tee off today.

"It doesn't matter if you're in the lead or one shot back, two shots back. It doesn't matter," O'Hair said. "There's 18 holes of golf left, and in my opinion, there's no leaders. It's just a shootout."

That's about what it was Saturday. Not only did 10 players shoot 67 or better at Firestone, there were 35 rounds in the 60s.

That list didn't include seven-time Firestone champion Tiger Woods. He went through the motions on his way to 5-over 75, finishing about two hours before the leaders even teed off. Woods was 20 shots behind, 78th out of 80 in this World Golf Championship.

He declined to speak to the media for the second straight day, telling a PGA Tour official that he drove it terribly, hit his irons terribly and didn't putt well. That would explain his worst score ever at Firestone, and his third straight round over par, having shot par or better every round at this course since 2006.

Phil Mickelson also failed to break par, but he's still in the tournament and still has a shot to replace Woods at No. 1 in the world.

Mickelson didn't help himself off the tee, often scrambling for par, and he stumbled coming in with two bogeys for 1-over 71.

That dropped him into a tie for 10th, four shots out of the lead. Mickelson would have to finish alone in fourth to reach No. 1 in the world ranking for the first time in his career.

PGA: Alex Cejka shot 5-under 67 to move to 15-under 201 and extend his lead to two strokes after the third round of the Turning Stone Resort Championship in Verona, N.Y.. Chris Couch tied the course record with 63 and was alone in second at 13 under. Billy Mayfair birdied six holes on the front nine and was in third at 12 under after shooting 66.

CHAMPIONS: David Frost shot 6-under 66 and was tied for the lead at 14-under 130 with Mark Calcavecchia after two rounds of the 3M Championship in Blaine, Minn. John Cook (67), Kirk Hanefeld (64) and David Peoples (66) were two back. First-round leader Tommy Armour III shot 71 to slip into a tie for eighth.

Palmer, O'Hair lead 'shootout' in Akron 08/07/10 [Last modified: Saturday, August 7, 2010 9:00pm]
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