Tiger With 3 Shot Lead Through 3 Rounds

ATLANTA, United States (AFP) - Tiger Woods was seeing nothing but fairways and flagsticks for the third straight day, shooting six-under 64 to maintain his three-stroke lead at the PGA Tour Championship on Saturday.

Woods, who started the day with a three-shot cushion over playing partner Woody Austin, is an impressive 40-3 when holding at least a share of the lead going into the final round of a PGA event.

"It was nice to make some birdies and get out there and still maintain the same size lead," Woods said.

"You see rounds of 60, 62 and guys are taking it deep."

The 13-time major winner easily moved to 19-under 191 and three shots clear of fellow tour veteran Mark Calcavecchia and five shots ahead of British Open runner-up Sergio Garcia of Spain at the East Lake Golf Club course.

Woods has also virtually locked up the FedEx Cup playoff title and the 10 million dollar annuity payment that goes to the champion.

"The last three weeks I've played they've been pretty exciting tournaments down the stretch," he said.

But Woods said he can't lose his focus since his priority has always been winning tournaments.

"If I lose the tournament and win the FedEx Cup, I don't think I'm going to be too happy that I lost the tournament."

Woods needed just 26 putts Saturday. He closed the back nine with three birdies on the final five holes, saying this was one of the easiest scoring tournaments in 11 years on the PGA Tour.

"I can't remember too many golf courses that have been as easy as his one," Woods said.

"When the greens are this soft and the pins this easy you are going to have a whole bunch of birdies. You fire at every flag because you know the ball is going to go plunk."

Masters champion Zach Johnson flirted with a 59 before finishing with a career low and course record 10-under 60. Despite his brilliant round, Johnson remains six shots back of Woods.

Johnson almost tied the lowest single round score in PGA Tour history as he went into the par-three 18th needed a birdie to tie. But his tee shot found the bunker and then he one-putt for par.

Al Geiberger, Chip Beck and David Duval are the only players on the tour to have shot 59s, and Duval was the last one to do it in 1999.

"It is a magic number," he said. "You have to get a lot of breaks go your way. Hopefully I have got a 59 in me in the future.

"I just started to click here. I had a good peace about things out there."

Woods wasn't trying to take anything away from Johnson but said when someone shoots 60 they should get something in return.

"I prefer not to play like this," Woods said. "If you shoot 60 you should earn it and you should move up the board.

"That's why I love the US Open so much. You shoot 60 and you have earned it and every time you are moving up the board."

Woods has never won at East Lake but he did capture the 1999 Tour Championship when it was held in Houston, Texas.

Just three times in his career has Woods lost when he holds the lead after 54 and two of those stumbles have been at East Lake.

He dropped a one-stroke lead to Phil Mickelson in 2000 and lost a four-shot cushion to South Africa's Retief Goosen in 2004.

"I didn't play well enough to win," Woods said.

The frustration of shooting a low score and trying to overtake Woods was evident on the face of Calcavecchia who will be in the final pairing Sunday.

Asked about his chances going head-to-head with Woods, he said, "He's at 19 under. So I've got to beat him by four tomorrow. Not likely. It could be a race for second.

"He's playing just phenomenal."

Austin who dropped to eight shots adrift of Woods, left the grounds quickly without speaking to reporters on Saturday.


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