Clarke disqualified from Buick Invitational

Ireland’s Darren Clarke was disqualified today from the Buick Invitational at La Jolla.

Ireland’s Darren Clarke was disqualified today from the Buick Invitational at La Jolla.

The Dungannon man had signed for a four when he had taken five on the 12th.

Meanwhile, on Tiger Woods's comeback, the world number one chipped in for bogey, saved his share of pars and birdied the 18th hole after hitting into the grandstand to finish the third round at 12 under par and grab a one-stroke lead.

Woods moved into top gear in his first event since undergoing knee surgery in December.

He made five birdies, a bogey and three par saves of at least five feet on the back nine. Having begun the day tied for eighth, two strokes off the pace, he birdied the first two holes.

After chipping in for bogey at the seventh, he scrambled his way through the back nine before closing with a birdie to grab the outright lead.

“It’s great to be back,” said Woods, who won this event in 1999.

“It’s great to get out there and compete again.”

The top-ranked player in the world, Woods hit his second shot at the par-five 18th into the crowd to the right of the green.

But he took a drop, nearly holed his flop shot over a bunker and made a seven-foot birdie putt.

The birdie gave Woods a one-stroke lead over Brad Faxon, the second-round co-leader who played the last eight holes in two over en route to a 71.

Phil Mickelson set up an intriguing final threesome, shooting a 69 that put him in a tie for third with Steven Alker at 10 under.

Alker finished his round with an eagle.

Mickelson, a San Diego native who won this tournament in 2000 and 2002, began the week apologising for criticising Woods’ equipment manufacturer Nike.

“It is going to be exciting to be in that final group again,” said Woods.

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