Tiger on cruise control in Ohio
Akron, OH – Tiger Woods kept his big lead on Saturday as he cruised to a 2-under 68 in the third round of the WGC - Bridgestone Invitational.
Woods, who led by six or more throughout the round, ended 54 holes at 15- under-par 195. He will go for his eighth win at this event on Sunday.
Leading by seven entering the round, Woods birdied the first two holes to quickly move to 15-under. Defending champion Keegan Bradley tried to keep pace as he eagled the second on the South Course at Firestone Country Club, but Bradley bogeyed the third and it was all Woods from there.
Henrik Stenson quietly climbed into second place with a third-round 67. He is alone in second at minus-8. Jason Dufner, who got within six a couple of times, also posted a 67. Dufner is alone in third at 7-under 203.
Luke Donald (68), Bill Haas (69) and Chris Wood (70) share fourth place at minus-6. Bradley tripped to a 1-over 71 and dipped into a share of seventh with Miguel Angel Jimenez (65) at 5-under 205.
Masters titlist Adam Scott shot 66, the third-best score of the day, to move into a share of ninth at minus-3.
British Open champ Phil Mickelson (67) and U.S. Open winner Justin Rose (69) are among 11 players tied for 17th at even-par 210.
Woods rolled in a 12-footer for birdie at the first, then 2-putted for birdie on the second to keep his 7-stroke lead. Woods played pretty safe the rest of the way, and no one could cut into his lead.
The seven-time winner ran off six straight pars from the third. At the ninth, Woods' drive stopped under the lip of a fairway bunker. He was forced to lay up, then knocked his third to nine feet.
Woods 2-putted for bogey from there, but he bounced back with a 7-foot birdie putt at No. 10. After a pair of pars, which kept him seven clear of the field, Woods missed the green at 13 with his approach.
Not to worry, he chipped in for birdie to push his lead to eight. Woods found sand off the 14th tee and that led to a bogey. Another poor drive at 16 led to his third bogey of the day.
Those bogeys dropped him margin to six, but he bounced back with an 8-foot birdie effort on 17 to push his lead back to seven. Woods scrambled for a closing par, and picked up his seventh lead of seven strokes or more in a PGA Tour event.
"I struggled a little bit today. I didn't quite have it, but I scored. The whole idea is to post a number, and I posted a good number," Woods said in a TV interview. "I felt good starting out. My starting lines were pretty tight starting out, and as the round progressed it got worse.
NOTES: Woods is 52-4 when owning at least a piece of the 54-hole lead ... He has nine PGA Tour wins of eight shots or more ... Woods' lead is the biggest on the PGA Tour since Rory McIlroy led by eight after three rounds of the 2011 U.S. Open ... Woods is in the top 10 in all five of these categories this week: Driving Accuracy, Driving Distance, Greens in Regulation, Strokes Gained Putting and Putting Average.