Thursday, April 26, 2018
Sports

Woods tied at top, looking for double

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Tiger Woods put himself in position to win his second straight tournament Saturday, and this one would leave little doubt about which direction his game is going.

He finally won two months ago against an 18-man field in California.

On Saturday, against the strongest field golf has seen in at least three months, Woods shot 6-under 66 for a share of the lead with Robert Rock going into the final round of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.

The topic suddenly shifts from the state of his swing and his health. Woods has a 55-8 record worldwide when he has at least a share of the lead going into the final round, and a win today would be the first time since August 2009 that he has won consecutive starts.

"It's fun when I'm able to control the golf ball like I did," Woods said.

Woods traded drama for consistency, racking up six birdies in a bogey-free round. He hit fairways, tamed the par 5s and sank clutch putts, including a 6-footer for birdie on the last hole.

"It just seemed like I didn't do a lot of things right but I didn't do a lot of things wrong (Saturday); it was just very consistent," said Woods, who finished at 11-under 205.

Rock, at No. 117 in the world, birdied his final two holes to join Woods in the last group with Peter Hanson, who had a 64 and was two shots behind.

Also two back at 9-under 207 was Rory McIlroy, who shot 68.

Francesco Molinari (66) and Paul Lawrie (68) were tied for third.

Woods was two shots back after the second round but opened with a birdie, followed by another on No. 7. He grabbed a share of the lead after he just missed an eagle putt on 10 and settled for a birdie. He briefly took the outright lead with a birdie on 14.

Some in the crowd yelled, "Tiger's back."

Woods refused to talk about his chances of winning. "There's a ton of guys with a chance to win," he said. "I can't go out there and shoot even par and expect to win. I've got to go out there and go get it."

PGA: Stanley's drives build five-stroke lead

SAN DIEGO — Kyle Stanley overpowered Torrey Pines to open a five-shot lead at the Farmers Insurance Open.

About the only regret for Stanley was missing a 4-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole that would have broken the 54-hole tournament record set by Woods in 1998, before Rees Jones beefed up the South Course for the 2008 U.S. Open. Stanley still managed a 4-under 68, a spot alongside Woods in the record book at 18-under 198 and in position for his first win.

"For some reason, I've always been long," said Stanley, who has a slight but athletic build and generates enormous club speed. "But if you take a golf course like this where you're hitting 7-irons into par 5s and short irons into long par 4s, it definitely helps."

He built a three-shot lead with a birdie on the second hole and was never really challenged.

John Huh, a 21-year-old rookie who spent three years on the Korean Tour, and John Rollins each had 68 and were at 13-under 203. FedEx Cup champion Bill Haas (70) and Bae (72) were another shot behind.

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