World No. 1 Tiger Woods, seeking his eighth career victory at the World Golf Championship Bridgestone Invitational, fired a two-under 68 on Saturday to keep a seven-stroke lead after 54 holes.
One day after matching the lowest round of his career and the Firestone Country Club course record with a 61, Woods maintained the same gap he had opened on the field on Friday, with a three-round total of 15-under 195.
“I feel pretty good,” Woods said. “Today was a day that I didn’t quite have it, but I scored, and the name of the game is posting a number and I did, grinded my way around that golf course. I was just trying to build on my lead somehow, just trying to build on it, and for most of the day I was doing that. Ended up being a dead push for the day, but that’s not too bad either.”
Woods, a 14-time major champion chasing the all-time record of 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus, was in a commanding position to claim his fifth victory of the season and has sent a message that he is in top form entering this week’s PGA Championship, the final major of the year.
“Any time you can go into a major tournament or any tournament with a win under your belt, it’s nice,” Woods said. “It validates what you’re working on and you have some nice momentum going in there, and hopefully I can seal the deal tomorrow and get ready for the PGA at Oak Hill.”
Sweden’s Henrik Stenson fired a 67 to stand second on 202, one stroke in front of Jason Dufner of the US, who also shot a 67 on Saturday.
England’s Luke Donald and Chris Wood, and Bill Haas of the US shared fourth on 204, with Keegan Bradley of the US and Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez on 205.
Woods opened with back-to-back birdies, then closed the front nine with a bogey, only to answer with a birdie at the 10th. Woods birdied the 13th, but took a bogey at the next hole and continued the up-and-down run with a bogey at the par-five 16th followed by a birdie at the par-four 17th.
“All in all, two-under-par is not too bad,” Woods said. “I birdied the first two right out of the gate, and I figured if I could somehow just keep the card clean and not make any bogeys, and maybe throw a couple more in there, it would be a pretty good day.”
Woods is 52-4 when leading or sharing the 54-hole lead. He has won nine times in PGA events by eight or more shots and his current lead in the largest in a PGA Tour event since Rory McIlroy led by eight after three rounds of the 2011 US Open.