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Coceres Charges To The Top

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For the second straight day, a translator accompanied the leader into the media center in the land of Disney, this time for Argentine Jose Coceres.
 
Coceres, who speaks relatively good English, was a bit apprehensive about speaking before a crowd; though, he showed no signs of those nerves Saturday on the course.
 
Coceres shot an 8-under 64 to take a three-stroke lead over Davis Love III (67) into the final round of the National Car Rental Golf Classic at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
 
I'm very happy for playing very good today, said Coceres, who learned the game hitting rocks with sticks. Now, I start in the front. But tomorrow is a new day. My confidence is very good.
 
Coceres, one of 11 children, may have to reproduce Saturdays round to stave off Love.
 
The 1998 Disney runner-up overcame a seven-shot deficit earlier in the year at Pebble Beach, shooting a Sunday 63.
 
Coceres, 38, is also seeking his second victory of the season, having won the WolrdCom Classic ' an event Loves captured four times.
 
Coceres defeated Billy Mayfair in a playoff at Hilton Head that wasnt completed until Monday.
 
In hopes of avoiding another Monday finish, tournament officials have implemented split tees on Sunday, with the first threesome teeing off at 8:10 a.m. ET and the final group going out at 10:00 a.m. Inclement weather is in the forecast.
 
Saturday, Coceres birdied two of his final three holes to finish the day at 19-under 197. Three players are four back, including Vijay Singh (67), Scott McCarron (65) and Stuart Appleby (65).
 
Singh has yet to record a bogey through three rounds.
 
Japans Kaname Yokoo, the overnight leader, is now five off the pace following a 1-under 71 on the Magnolia Course; though, he fared better than his playing companion, Jerry Smith.
 
Smith, who started the day one off the lead, shot 1-over 73 and is now eight back at minus-11.
 
Twelve players are within six shots of the lead, among them Tiger Woods.
 
The 1996 and 99 Disney champion eagled the par-5 10th en route to shooting 69. He stands at 13-under.
 
I really wanted to get to 14 (under) today because I thought the leaders would probably be about 16 or 17, Woods said following his round. I am a little bit back, but I still got a chance tomorrow.
 
For motivation, Woods need only be reminded of what happened a year ago at this event.
 
Steve Flesch led Woods by two shots entering the final round, only to watch Duffy Waldorf fire a 10-under 62 to win the event by a single stroke.
 
Like Woods, Waldorf started the final round six back.
 
Anyone who plays a hot round tomorrow could definitely win the tournament, Woods said. Its going to be a shootout.
 
The leaderboard could have been more tightly packed. As the final group entered the back nine, 38 players were within four shots of the lead.
 
Thats when Coceres began to distance himself.
 
After making the turn in 4-under 32 ' just to keep up with the rest of the field ' Coceres birdied the par-5 10th to take a one-shot lead at 16-under.
 
He added to that total with another birdie at the par-3 12th, and then took a two-shot advantage over Love with his seventh birdie of the day at No. 16. Coceres finished his round with a final birdie at the par-4 18th.
 
Love shared the top spot with Coceres through nine holes, but was unable to keep the pace over the inward half, shooting 1-under 35.
 
Tomorrow Ill have to be a little sharper, Love said. Ill have to play a little bit more aggressive to the green, get it a little closer to the hole.
 
Love is playing as well as anyone at the moment. This is his ninth straight sub-70 score. Including a final-round 61 at last weeks Invensys Classic, hes played his last four rounds in 27-under.
 

News, Notes and Numbers
 
*Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly, who is writing a book about the caddieing experience, is looping for Tom Lehman. Lehman shot 6-under 66 Saturday to finish at 12-under. Said Lehman of Reilly: Its a good thing hes a good writer, because he sure cant do math.
 
*50-year-old Mark McCumber had his 10-year-old son, Tyler, caddie for him over his final three holes Saturday. Tyler, who is carrying a lightweight bag, also caddied for his father all 18 holes in the first round and 10 holes in the second round. When asked if he would caddie on Sunday for his dad, who is tied for 19th at 11-under, Tyler responded like a grizzled veteran: 'If my back can take it.'
 
Full-field scores from the NCR Classic