Stunning finish sees Tiger take lead

Tiger Woods produced a superb finish to his third round today to take the lead of the US Open ahead of Lee Westwood.

The world number one played the final two holes of his third round in three-under-par, carding an eagle at the par-five 18th to take a one-stroke lead at Torrey Pines.

It means Woods is in great shape to win his third US Open and 14th Major championship.

Westwood finished two groups ahead of Woods after carding a 70 and, at two-under 211, he was alone in the lead at the time.

However, Woods chipped in from the rough at 17, his ball taking one bounce before gently glancing the flagstick and dropping into the cup.

Then on 18, Woods split the fairway and launched his second shot onto the green with a fairway wood, grimacing in pain after the shot.

It did not affect him on his putt, as he dropped a 35-footer that was never headed anywhere but the hole.

At times on Saturday it seemed Woods could do no wrong, and when he did, he found a way to overcome it.

He started with a double-bogey at the first hole for the second time in three days. He was three-over for his round when he stepped to the 13th tee and started one of the more memorable stretches of golf in his career given the circumstances.

After a bogey at number 12, Woods came to the par-five 13th with a chance to jump-start his round. He did so by making a 65-foot bomb for an eagle from the back of the green.

He gave a shot back with a bogey at 14 and then the knee acted up.

He was visibly in pain after hitting his tee shot at 15, bending over and pausing before picking up his tee. He parred that hole and 16 as well. On 17 he grimaced again after hitting his approach but was all smiles by the end of the hole.

Off to the left of the green in the rough, Woods chipped in to get to one-under, a stroke behind Westwood at the time.

"On 17, I just hit it too hard," Woods said. "It came out hot and when I hit it, I figured I would have eight to 10 feet coming back."

Instead it went in and brought Woods to 18 looking at a good chance to tie for the lead, he instead went one better, but not until his knee gave him some more problems.

"It's more sore. As soon as I get out of here I'm going to put some ice on it," Woods added. "It does affect what I'm trying to do. It acts up on certain shots, I can't say it's a driver and I can't say it's a wedge. Certain shots I just feel it more on."

Woods' closing eagle may have taken the lead away from Westwood, but it didn't take the Englishman out of contention. In fact, while Woods was flashier in posting his 70, Westwood was more steady in his, carding 15 pars with two birdies and a bogey in the par-three eighth where he three-putted.

"I'm very pleased. It's just the position I wanted to be in," Westwood said. "I've played very solidly the first three days and was good today. I've been thinking well out there."

Westwood is one of only three players under-par, the other being Rocco Mediate who shot a one-over 72 and is in third at one-under 212.

Mediate had the lead for much of the day and was at four-under after a birdie at 10. He bogeyed 15 and then doubled 15 followed by a bogey at 16 to drop to even-par. A birdie at 17 got him back in red numbers and kept him with a chance entering Sunday.

"I hit my ball really, really good most of the day," Mediate said. "It was in front of me. I missed a couple of shots, but I really liked the way I reacted."

DJ Trahan and 2006 US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy are tied for fourth at one-over 214. Robert Allenby, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Robert Karlsson, Hunter Mahan and Camilo Villegas are another stroke back.

Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia, John Merrick and Mike Weir are tied for 11th at three-over 216.

More on this topic

Nadal to face Medvedev in US Open final after straight-sets winNadal to face Medvedev in US Open final after straight-sets win

US Open day 12: Nadal sets sights on 19th grand slam titleUS Open day 12: Nadal sets sights on 19th grand slam title

US Open day 11: Serena takes a step closer to tying Court’s recordUS Open day 11: Serena takes a step closer to tying Court’s record

Nadal ousts Cilic as potential showdown with Federer loomsNadal ousts Cilic as potential showdown with Federer looms

More in this Section

Graham adds to Scotland woes after Russell exclusionGraham adds to Scotland woes after Russell exclusion

Achilles injury halts Okunbor's AFL progressAchilles injury halts Okunbor's AFL progress

'We don't know where we stand': Potential loopholes undermine new rules'We don't know where we stand': Potential loopholes undermine new rules

England hold clear-the-air talks over Saracens issue ahead of Six NationsEngland hold clear-the-air talks over Saracens issue ahead of Six Nations


Lifestyle

Falsies don’t have to be fiddly, says Katie Wright.5 common myths about false lashes

Hiring professional designers to guide you through a home revamp can get you what you want, which doesn’t necessarily have to be what TV home improvement shows tell us, writes Carol O’Callaghan.What a professional interior designer can do for you when planning a home revamp

Kya deLongchamps turns the spotlight on countertop stars to look out for in the last throes of the January sales.Counter culture: Some star kitchen appliance buys

The model, presenter and musician chats to Lauren Taylor about how different it is having a newborn in her 40s.Myleene Klass on her post-baby body: ‘I’ve got two stone to lose but I won’t berate myself’

More From The Irish Examiner