DORAL, Fla. --Different day, same story.
Tiger Woods made seven birdies Saturday at TPC Blue Monster, where he is 18 under and four shots clear of his closest competitor with one round to go in the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship.
Over the last three days, Woods has racked up 24 birdies in all, a career-high through 54 holes of a PGA TOUR event.
Woods has never lost when leading by at least three shots going into the final round and if he can hang on Sunday will win for the 76th time on TOUR.
Graeme McDowell, who played alongside Woods in the third round, will be paired with him again on Sunday after a wild day that included as many eagles -- two -- as birdies in a round of 69.
Phil Mickelson is another stroke back at 13 under, along with Steve Stricker, and just missed out on playing his way into the final pairing after a 69 of his own on Saturday.
Four others -- Sergio Garcia, Michael Thompson, Charl Schwartzel and Keegan Bradley -- are tied for fifth at 11 under.
DORAL, Fla. -- Tiger Woods is right where he started the day: In the lead.
After making the turn in 3 under, Woods has added one birdie and three pars through his first four holes on the back nine at TPC Blue Monster.
Graeme McDowell has mostly kept pace with Woods, but a bogey on No. 11, where McDowell failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker after missing a 6-footer for par, dropped him three strokes back.
Others have played well -- Charl Schwartzel is is 4 under on the day, Sergio Garcia and Michael Thompson 5 under -- but no one has been able to catch Woods.
DORAL, Fla. -- Tiger Woods is still atop the leaderboard at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship.
But he has plenty of company, namely Graeme McDowell, who is just one back as the two make the turn to the back nine at TPC Blue Monster.
Woods began his day with birdies on each of his first three holes.
McDowell kept up, making eagle on the first and a birdie on No. 3.
Since then, the two have remained at the top of the leaderboard, briefly tying each other when Woods bogeyed the fifth and McDowell made birdie one hole later.
Woods moved back in front, however, with a birdie on the par-5 eighth.
No one else has been able to get in the mix so far.
Steve Stricker and Charl Schwartzel are both 12 under and four off Woods' pace.
Freddie Jacobson moved into contention early with an eagle on No. 1, but he's since given those shots back with bogeys on Nos. 3 and 4 before bouncing back with a birdie on No. 8.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
DORAL, Fla. – How low did Rory McIlroy’s confidence sink this year?
“It was probably the lowest it’s ever been,” he said.
Slowly, it’s being built back up.
McIlroy recorded just his second round under par of the year on Saturday, a 1-under 71 that at one point included five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine at TPC Blue Monster.
“I’m driving the ball much better,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of work and feel a lot more comfortable out there.”
A week ago McIlroy looked just the opposite.
He walked off the golf course in the middle of his second round at The Honda Classic, 7 over through eight holes at the time, saying he wasn’t in a good place mentally and later added that a toothache was his reason for pulling out.
The next day he went back to work at The Bear’s Club, searching for the swing that had won him two major championships by age 23 and propelled him to No. 1 in the world.
“This time last week I was standing on range at The Bear’s Club grinding my ass off trying to find a swing that worked,” McIlroy said. “To put it into play and actually see good results, I’m in a better place.”
Things actually started slowly for McIlroy in the third round with a bogey and a double bogey in his first four holes.
A birdie on No. 6, however, sparked the Northern Irishman.
He bogeyed the par-5 10th after finding the water on his approach, but he started finding his rhythm after that with birdies on five of the next six holes, including one from 35 feet on the 14th.
McIlroy three-putted the 18th for a second day in a row, but his score at the end of the day was less important than the shots he hit to get there.
“Even the bad shots are coming off the middle of the clubface,” McIlroy said. “I’m excited about my game. Coming into this week I was down about it. But after a few days I’m a lot happier going forward.”
He’ll also be able to devote more time to his short game, something McIlroy admitted he neglected while trying to fix his full swing problems and get adjusted to his new Nike equipment.
McIlroy also said he doesn’t plan to add an event to his schedule -- he’ll next play the Shell Houston Open -- despite his early-season struggles.
Given how he’s hit the ball the last two days, he doesn’t feel the need to.
Said McIlroy: “Putting in the word work, knowing what I’m doing is the right thing gives me confidence going into next few weeks.”
DORAL, Fla. -- Tiger Woods has picked up right where he left off.
After racking up 17 birdies through the first two rounds -- the most in Woods' career through the first 36 holes of a tournament -- he began his third round with three in row.
Woods reached the par-5 first in two and just missed an eagle putt from 12 feet.
On No. 2, he nearly took the putter out of the equation, hitting his approach from 120 yards to inside a foot.
One hole later, Woods rolled in a 10-footer for another birdie.
Woods wasn't the oly one to get off to a hot start.
Graeme McDowell opened eagled No. 1 playing and added a birdie on No. 3 to keep pace and stay within two of Woods.
DORAL, Fla. -- Tiger Woods and Graeme McDowell have teed off in the day's final pairing at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship.
Woods has a two-shot lead over McDowell (and Freddie Jacobson, who opened with an eagle at the par-5 first hole). Will Woods separate himself from the field in the third round? Or will McDowell (or someone else) catch him?
Share your thoughts on the final round here and click here to track Woods and McDowell live.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
DORAL, Fla. -- Graeme McDowell is the only player without a bogey on his scorecard through the first two rounds at TPC Blue Monster.
The last time he did make one here actually extends back to the 12th hole in the final round of the 2012 tournament, and he has just one bogey in his last 57 holes in this event.
One reason he's avoided bogeys this week: Scrambling.
Last year, McDowell ranked 177th on the PGA TOUR in scrambling, saving par (or better) just 52 percent of the time.
This season, that number is up to 71 percent. And this week McDowell is the only player with a perfect mark, going 9-for-9 from around the greens.
At last week's Honda Classic, McDowell also led the field in scrambling, going 23 for 30. He finished ninth.
The rest of his game hasn't been too shabby, either. McDowell leads the field in fairways hit, is eighth in greens in regulation, fifth in proximity to the hole and seventh in strokes gained-putting.