Woods Perry Tied Play Called


AKRON, Ohio -- Tiger Woods and Kenny Perry are atop the leaderboard during the third round of the suspended World Golf Championships- NEC Invitational, but the weather was the story on Saturday.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods seemed to be enjoying himself before storms moved into the area and suspended play.
On Friday, tournament officials recognized that severe weather was headed to Firestone, so they pushed the tee times up five hours. It did not work perfectly.
There was a three-hour delay starting at 12:44 p.m. ET, then players returned briefly to the course. Play was suspended after just 15 minutes and officials thought there might be a possibility that the golfers could hit balls shortly after 6:00 p.m.
It didn't happen and play was called for the day at 6:05 p.m. The 20 golfers who need to finish their third round will return at 7:30 a.m. Sunday morning and the final round is slated to begin at 9:00 a.m.
Woods, a three-time former champion, and Perry are knotted at 7 under par. Perry has a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to come back for, while Woods is in the trees off the 16th tee.
Since the players will be re-paired for the final round, Perry will take either one or two putts, then have to wait almost six hours before his final-round tee time.
'I'll have some time to kill, which is frustrating,' said Perry, who is 6 under par thus far in his round. 'I'm not a weather man. If they thought it was close, I'd rather be safe than sorry.'
Woods will have close to 30 minutes worth of golf to play in the morning, then his long break.
'No one is really happy right now,' admitted Woods, who is 3 under par in the third round. 'It's been a long day, and I wish we would have gotten it in, but we'll come back tomorrow and finish it up and wait around for a while and start it up again.'
Paul McGinley is 3 under through 15 holes and alone in third place at 6 under par. Stuart Appleby is also 3 under with two holes to go and owns fourth at minus-5.
Woods, who has held at least a share of the lead after the first two rounds, two-putted for birdie from seven feet at the par-5 second and that propelled him to a strong run. His wedge approach at three spun back to 8 feet and he sank the birdie putt. Woods made it three in a row with a 7-footer at the fourth, but did not get much else going through the turn.
At the 11th, Woods drove in the right rough, then hit a terrible second that hit the trees and landed short and right of the putting surface. He pitched his third to 25 feet, then canned the left-to-righter for par.
Woods hit a wedge to 4 feet to set up birdie at the 13th, and missed the green with his tee ball at 15. The horn then sounded and Woods pitched to 8 feet three hours later. His par-saver lipped out and Woods fell into a tie with Perry, who was on a birdie run on Firestone's back nine.
Woods' problems continued at 16 as he hooked his drive into the trees on the left side. He was standing over his second at the par-5 hole when play was stopped for the second time.
'Hopefully I can escape with a par there and make something happen the last couple of holes to put myself in it,' said Woods. 'We've done this before and we did it all at the beginning of the year. This is something we're accustomed to.'
Perry made the turn at 5 under for the championship thanks to four birdies on the front side. He dropped a shot at 14, then rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt at the 15th.
Perry, ranked 11th in the world, hit the flag with his approach at 16, but the ball bounced off the green. Did not matter to Perry as he holed the putt from the fairway to reach minus-6.
At the 17th, Perry landed in the rough with his drive, but knocked his approach to 8 feet. The first delay gave him time to think about the putt, but he walked back and drained it to tie Woods at minus-7.
He had 10 feet for birdie at the 18th when the siren rang, stopping play again.
'I'm not too worried about that putt,' said Perry. 'It's a pretty straight putt right up the hill. There's not a lot of thinking about that. It's just a matter of getting ready for that afternoon round.'
Jose Maria Olazabal is the leader in the clubhouse at 4-under-par 206. He shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday and is tied for fifth with Sergio Garcia. The younger Spaniard is two-under on his round and has the 17th and 18th to go.
Ryan Palmer shot a 3-under 67 and is in at minus-3. David Toms, Chris DiMarco, Thomas Bjorn and David Howell are 3 under par, but have holes remaining.
PGA Champion Phil Mickelson just snuck in under the horn, but it was not a spectacular round. He shot a 5-over 75 and is currently tied for 43rd at plus-6.
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