August 15, 2009

Woods sees lead cut in half

Tiger Woods failed to distance himself from the field Saturday and saw his 36-hole lead cut in half with one round to play in the PGA Championship.

Woods, seeking his third straight PGA Tour win and the 15th major title of his career, appeared ready to turn the event into a rout when he embarked on the third round with a four-shot cushion.

That lead, however, eventually disappeared when 2008 winner Padraig Harrington moved into a tie for first place on the back nine.

Harrington could not keep pace and Woods made a late birdie to shoot a 1-under 71 at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in the Minneapolis suburb of Chaska, leaving him with a 54-hole total of 8-under 208.

Harrington, outplayed by Woods in their final-round duel last week at the Bridgestone Invitational, shared second at 210. Also at 210 was Y.E. Yang, who this year won his first tour event and is trying to become the first Asian to win a major championship.

Yang equaled the low round of the tournament with a 67 that included three straight birdies beginning at the 14th. That earned him a spot in the final pairing Sunday with Woods.

Tied for fourth at 212 were Henrik Stenson and U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover. Ernie Els, who stormed within a shot of the lead only to bogey the final three holes, was at 213 along with Sotren Kjeldsen.

Harrington birdied the short, par-4 14th to get to 4-under for the day and move into a tie for the lead. He then bogeyed the final hole during a brief shower accompanied by gusty winds.

Woods made only two birdies all day, the last of them coming at the 14th when he rolled in a 15-foot putt from the fringe.