An aggressive tandem of Tiger Woods and David Duval fired a better-ball 12-under-par 60, Saturday at the Buenos Aires Golf Club, to take a three-shot lead at 30-under over New Zealand and the host team, Argentina.
For the third consecutive day, the New Zealand team of Greg Turner and Frank Nobilo, and Argentines Eduardo Romero and Angel Cabrera posted matching scores. The two teams have each carded rounds of 57-67-65. The first two scores were good enough for a share of the lead; however, Saturday's 65s were not.
Playing the four-ball format for the second time in three days, the Americans bettered their opening 61 by a stroke on Day 3. For the first time this week, Duval and Woods came out strong, birdying four of their first six holes.
The two made the turn in 5-under-par 31, and then added a pair of birdies at the 10th and 12th holes to move to 25-under for the tournament, thus tying them with New Zealand for the lead.
An eagle 3 at the par-5 14th, courtesy Woods, gave the U.S. their first outright lead all week at 27-under. And though the Kiwis did manage to birdie the 14th and 15th holes to temporarily close the gap, the Americans birdied each of their final three holes to finish the day with a three-shot cushion.
'We kind of bailed each other out,' said Woods, who twice found the water on Saturday. 'And that's what you need to do in this type of format.'
Added Duval: 'I think that the format lends itself to really feeling like you can make up for errors on the other half of the team.'
Once again, New Zealand got off to a positive start, and then stagnated over the back nine. Turner and Nobilo matched the American's 31 on the front side, but only managed the aforementioned pair of birdies on the inward half.
Saturday's better-ball back-nine was a stark contrast to what the Kiwis produced on Thursday. In the first round, Turner and Nobilo combined to play the seven-hole stretch of 11-17 in 8-under-par.
While the Americans were surging on Saturday, the Argentines remained stationary for the better part of the front nine. Cabrera and Romero didn't collect their first birdie of the day until the par-5 6th.
The local favorites did manage to record four more birdies over their next eight holes, but it wasn't until Cabrera almost double-eagled the par-4 17th that the Argentines vaulted back into contention.
Cabrera nearly holed his second shot to the 574-yard hole, and then converted the short eagle to take his team to 27-under-par, where they finished the day. Argentina will play in the penultimate group in the final round with Mike Weir and Glen Hnatiuk of Canada, who are nine shots off the lead at 21-under. The U.S. and New Zealand will play in the final foursome.
'Today we were not very lucky,' Romero said. 'We had many putts that should have gone in but went out, and we can change that tomorrow.'
Foursomes (alternate shot) will again be the format on Sunday. Friday, the U.S. carded an alternate-shot 65, while New Zealand and Argentina each posted 67s. The winning team will earn $1 million.