ORLANDO, Florida — Tiger Woods, looking to end his long victory drought, will take a one-stroke lead over Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell into Sunday’s final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational after shooting a one-under-par 71 Saturday.
The former world No. 1, searching for his first win on the PGA Tour since September 2009, had a four-stroke lead before a bogey on the 14th and a double-bogey on the next where he drove out of bounds into a neighboring garden.
Woods revealed that shot had been the result of a scream from a woman in the crowd after a teenager fainted and the noise came as he was already committed to his shot.
A birdie on the par-five 16th restored some calm to Woods’s round but McDowell kept up the pressure with a birdie on the par-three 17th, where he hit his tee shot to six feet from the hole on his way to posting 71.
Woods stood on 11-under-par 205 through 54 holes at a course where he has won six times.
The 14-time major winner has a 37-2 record in tour events when leading into the final round. At Bay Hill, five of Woods’ six victories have come after he held the 54-hole lead leaving him ideally placed to finally get his 72nd tour win.
South African Ernie Els, who needs a win here or next week in Houston to gain a berth at the Masters, was well-placed for a Sunday push after a fine 67 that left him just three strokes behind Woods, alongside Briton Ian Poulter.
But there was deep disappointment for Korean Charlie Wi and American Jason Dufner.
Wi, who started the day tied for the lead with Woods, soared to a 76 that put him five shots behind.
After opening with a 66 and 69, Dufner shot five-over 77 on his 35th birthday, with a front nine comprising four bogeys and a double bogey.
Spain’s Sergio Garcia also fell victim to inconsistency, shooting 75 to fall down the leaderboard.
England’s Justin Rose also slipped back after a two-over 74 that included five bogeys left him seven shots off the lead.
Tseng leads by three shots
In California, Taiwan’s Yani Tseng, who is seeking her second consecutive LPGA Tour victory, fired a three-under 69 to seize a three-shot lead after three rounds of the Kia Classic Saturday.
World No. 1 Tseng had a bogey-free round to reach 12-under 204 heading into the final round at the La Costa Resort and Spa course. The 23-year-old Tseng is also gunning for her third title in five tournaments this year.
South Korea’s Jiyai Shin was second at nine-under 207 after a 68. — Agencies