An on-fire Tiger Woods was to take a four-stroke lead over Graeme McDowell into yesterday’s final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship after shooting a five-under-par 67 at Doral on Saturday.
Woods, searching for his 76th USPGA Tour victory, finished his third round in fine style with a 16-foot birdie putt on the 18th, highlighting his work on the greens so far in the tournament.
The 14-time major winner finished the day at 18-under-par for a 198 total, while McDowell’s three-under par 69 put him on 14-under-par at 202.
Woods, who won in January at Torrey Pines, has made 24 birdies through 54 holes — a personal record at this stage in a tournament — and he has never lost a final round where he has led by three or more strokes.
Woods, who started with a two-stroke lead over McDowell, began his round in blistering fashion by collecting birdies on his first three holes and added four more before heading to the clubhouse with only two blemishes on his card, a bogey on the fifth and on the 17th.
McDowell made an equally lightning start with an eagle on the first and a birdie on the third, reaching the turn at four-under.
The Northern Irishman lost his momentum with a bogey on the 11th and a double on the 14th, where he got in trouble in the rough.
The 2010 US Open winner bounced back with a superb eagle on the par-four 16th, where he drove over the back of the green and then superbly chipped in from 22 feet.
Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker are both five shots off the lead, tied for third place, after shooting rounds of 69.
World No. 1 Rory McIlroy carded a one-under 71 and is three-under for the tournament, tied in 30th place.