January 28, 2006

Tiger charges into contention at Buick with 67

By Mark Lamport-Stokes

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Champion Tiger Woods surged into
contention for a record fourth Buick Invitational title, firing
a five-under-par 67 in Saturday's third round.

The world number one, seven shots off the pace overnight,
birdied five of the last 10 holes to finish at 10-under 206.

That left him one shot behind joint leaders Sergio Garcia
of Spain and Australia's Rod Pampling, who carded matching
rounds of 68 on the difficult South Course at Torrey Pines.

"Overall, I felt like I really controlled my golf ball out
there today and at least I put myself into position going into
tomorrow," Woods told reporters after shooting the lowest round
of the day.

"I feel comfortable being in contention and I'm excited
about being there. I haven't been there in a little while."

The 10-time major winner, playing his first tournament of
the year, clinched his last victory at the Dunlop Phoenix in
Japan two months ago.

Woods, Buick Invitational champion in 1999, 2003 and again
last year, made a surprisingly slow start, missing the fairway
to the right on five of the first six holes on a cold, overcast

Level for his round playing the par-five sixth, he picked
up his first shot of the day there despite failing to reach the
green in two, hitting a low pitch four feet past the pin.

However, he bogeyed the next hole after pushing his tee
shot into the right rough to slip back to five under for the


Something then clicked into place for the U.S. masters and
British Open champion. Putting behind him his errant driving of
the first day, when he found only one fairway out of 14, he
stepped up a gear with his all-round game.

"I hit a really nice iron shot into eight, a hard
seven-iron that ended up short, hit the ridge and came back,
but that was the start of it," Woods said.

"After that shot, I hit a bunch of quality shots. I just
got into a good flow."

A prodigious drive straight down the middle at the par-five
ninth set up his second birdie of the day and he picked up
another shot at the par-four 10th after hitting his approach to
six feet.

Although Woods found one of two front greenside bunkers at
the par-five 13th, he splashed out to within four feet of the
flag for birdie number four.

Further birdies followed on 15 and 17 after superb tee
shots on both holes set up precision wedges into the green.

Although Woods pulled his tee shot well left at the
par-five last, he struck his second safely onto the fairway
before striking a 93-yard approach to just seven feet and it
seemed another birdie was there for the taking.

However, he narrowly missed and had to settle for signing
off with a par-five.