BETHESDA, Maryland – Zimbabwe’s Brendan de Jonge climbed into the lead but Tiger Woods is lurking just a shot behind after the third round of the AT&T National at Congressional Country Club at a storm-hit tournament Saturday.
Seeking a maiden PGA Tour win, De Jonge carded a two-under par 69 to move to seven-under 206 for the tournament, a stroke clear of Americans Bo Van Pelt (67) and Woods (67), and Korean prospect Noh Seung-yul (69).
Massive storms in the area wreaked havoc overnight, forcing organizers to delay the start of play, and prohibit spectators and volunteers from attending due to fallen trees and dangerous conditions around the course.
Playing without huge galleries in competition for the first time in decades, former world No. 1 Woods was bogey-free, picking up his four birdies in the opening 10 holes, including a majestic chip-in on the sixth.
Similar to the wonder shot on the 16th hole in the final round of his recent Memorial Tournament victory, Woods missed the green long but conjured up a touch of brilliance from the rough to make birdie and maintain his momentum.
Woods, who won the event in 2009, is looking to move into sole possession of second place on the PGA Tour winners’ list, on which he is currently level with Jack Nicklaus on 73 victories and chasing down Sam Snead’s 82.
However, he has come from behind after 54 holes in just 23 of those triumphs.
The third round was not such smooth sailing for overnight leader Hunter Mahan, who fired a two-over 73 to drop back into a share of fifth place on 208.
Harrington well placed
Triple major champion Padraig Harrington is hunting his first European Tour victory in four years after moving within two shots of the lead following the Irish Open third round Saturday.
The 40-year-old carded a 72 for a 10-under tally of 206, one behind Englishman Anthony Wall (67) and two adrift of leader Jamie Donaldson of Wales (69).
World No. 2 Rory McIlroy will need to produce a spectacular final-round charge to revive his title chances after a 71 left him six strokes off the pace.
McIlroy’s fellow Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell carded a 73 for 212 while British Open champion Darren Clarke returned a 73 for 213.
Felibert stretches lead
Venezuelan rookie Veronica Felibert fired a five-under 66 Saturday to stretch her lead to four shots heading into the final round of the LPGA Tour’s NW Arkansas Classic.
Felibert, who celebrated her 27th birthday Saturday, continued her surprising run which saw her shoot an opening round 65 to take a one-stroke lead.
She got into the tournament as a second alternate after missing the cut in her three previous events.
Japan’s Mika Miyazato and South Korea’s Park In-bee were tied for second at the Pinnacle Country Club course. Miyazato had a 65, and former US Women’s Open winner Park shot a three-under 68.
Brittany Lang had a 63 and is in a group at six-under par. Lang’s 63 was the best round of the week.
Lang is tied with LPGA Championship winner Feng Shanshan of China (70), Katie Futcher (67), Ryann O’Toole (68) and Ai Miyazato (68). World No. 1 Yani Tseng, of Taiwan, followed her opening round 73 with a 74 as she missed her first cut in more than a year. — Agencies