Record-setting effort widens Woods#039; lead
LEMONT, Ill. - If Tiger Woods keeps this up, he's going to own the record book at the Western Open.
Woods shot a 65 Saturday, setting a 54-hole tournament record with 18-under 198. That breaks by three strokes the mark set by Sam Snead in 1949 and matched by six others.
Woods has already matched the single-round scoring mark, shooting a 63 on Thursday.
Woods also extended his lead to six shots - very bad news for his opponents. Of the other 30 tournaments he's led after three rounds, he's gone on to win 28 of them.
Robert Allenby, who won the tournament in 2000, and Cliff Kresge are tied for third at 204. Rich Beem matched Woods' 65 and is seven strokes back.
Mike Weir, defending champion Jerry Kelly and Glen Day are at 206.
''Obviously if Tiger keeps playing the way he is, no, there's no way,'' Beem said when asked if anyone could catch Woods. ''Maybe somebody can shoot 63 or even 62 and maybe he'll shoot even par.
''He's obviously hitting the ball fantastic and obviously playing fantastic.''
That he was. Woods was near-perfect through the front nine, shooting a 30 and making only one bogey. He hit six of seven fairways, and the one he missed didn't cost him at all. In the right rough off the tee on the par-5 No. 5, Woods hit a tremendous second shot that left him just 11 inches from the pin.
He rolled it in for an eagle, getting to 15 under.
After a ''routine'' par on the first hole, he put himself in position for birdie on all but two holes the rest of the front nine. He had 11 putts on the front nine, two-putting just twice. He had putts of 8 feet or less on all but three holes, and his longest was a 20-footer on the par-3 No. 6.
The ball slowed down the closer it got to the hole, and it looked as if it might stop inches short. But with fans yelling, ''Get there!'' and Woods pointing at the cup, the ball kept going, falling almost slow-motion into the hole
A big grin crossed Woods' face, and the crowd roared.
He followed with another long birdie putt, this one from 12 feet. This time there was no question the ball was going in, and Woods' caddie, Steve Williams, turned and pumped his fist as it dropped into the cup. That put Woods' at 17 under, and suddenly, a round of 60 or - dare we say it? - 59 didn't seem out of reach.
But his game hit a speedbump on No. 8. With what appeared like a makable 9-footer for par, the ball ricocheted off the back edge of the cup and Woods had to take his first bogey of the day.
He appeared to be in more trouble on the par-5 11th, pushing his drive into the rough on the right side. His second shot wasn't much better, landing in the left rough behind two greenside bunkers.
In a showcase of just how superior his game was, though, Woods chipped on within 5 feet and then made the putt for a birdie, dropping to 18 under.
Just as he did Friday, though, Woods ran into trouble on the back nine of Cog Hill's Dubsdread course. He missed four of seven fairways, and made his first back-to-back bogeys of the week.
He came right back with a birdie, though, blasting out of a bunker to within 3 feet and then tapping in on the par-5 15th.
He made one more birdie, and it was an impressive one. His drive off the 17th sailed far right and landed in a spectator's chair. Woods took a drop, flew a group of trees and landed within 10 feet of the pin, giving himself an easy birdie putt.