Woods Going Wild in Ireland


THOMASTOWN, Ireland -- Tiger Woods shot a 5-under 67 Saturday to stretch his lead to five after three rounds of the WGC-American Express Championship. Woods finished 54 holes at 19-under-par 197, shattering the previous 54-hole tournament mark by 10 strokes.
'I actually drove the ball better today,' said Woods. 'The conditions were a little bit more difficult today. The wind was blowing a little bit harder and the pins were tucked in some pretty good corners. I was possibly a little more conservative off the tees to get the ball in play. I had to control my spin going into some of these flags.'
Woods started the day with a two-shot lead over Jerry Kelly at Mount Juliet Estate. He continued his fine play on the par-5s with birdies at the fifth and eighth holes to make the turn at 16-under as his closest competitors attempted to close the gap.
At the par-5 10th, Woods was left with five feet for birdie and drained the putt to reach 17-under. While Woods parred the next six holes, his challengers stalled.
Chris DiMarco came the closest with five birdies on the front nine. He then birdied the par-3 11th to pull within one of the lead. DiMarco struggled, however, with a double-bogey at the 13th en route to a round of 70.
Woods kept plugging along until the par-5 17th where he ran home an eight-foot putt for his fourth birdie of the day. At the following hole, Woods dropped his approach within four feet of the hole for birdie and a more than comfortable margin over the rest of the field.
'This golf course, you can shoot some low numbers on it,' said Woods, who has not made a bogey since the final round of the last World Golf Championships event, the NEC Invitational. 'I had to keep making birdies and keep playing well.'
Woods, who has four PGA Tour wins in 2002 to go along with a European Tour victory at the Deutsche Bank Open, is seeking his second title at the American Express Championship.
The 26-year-old, who has won at least one WGC event every year since the tournaments began in 1999, is also looking to keep that streak alive.
'It means I've played well against the best players in the world,' said Woods who has won 29 of 33 events worldwide in which he's held the 54-hole lead. 'Definitely you take pride in competing against the best players in the world and hopefully beating them.'
Scott McCarron, the runner-up at the WGC-Match Play Championship in February, was flawless on Saturday with eight birdies and no bogeys for a course-record 64.
'I've got things clicking today, which was fun,' said McCarron. 'It really is an absolutely great golf course and these greens are possibly the best greens I've ever seen. It makes it a lot of fun.'
McCarron was joined by Vijay Singh, Retief Goosen, Steve Lowery, David Toms and Kelly in a tie for second at 14-under-par 202.
Rocco Mediate shot his second consecutive round of 67 to finish six shots back at 13-under-par 203. Mediate was followed by Davis Love III, who carded a 68 to finish alone in ninth at 12-under-par 202.
Mike Weir, who won this event the last time it was contested in 2000 at Valderrama, had five birdies and one bogey to finish at 11-under-par 205 alongside Justin Leonard, Bob Estes and Stuart Appleby.
Thomas Bjorn, Padraig Harrington, Scott Hoch and DiMarco share 14th at 10-under-par 206.

Full-field scores from the WGC-American Express Championship