Tiger Woods maintained his three-shot lead at the Tour Championship after resisting a glut of low scoring on Saturday, spearheaded by United States Masters champion Zach Johnson with a dazzling 10-under-par 60.
Woods, hunting a seventh PGA Tour title this year and inaugural FedExCup honours, fired a 64 in the third round at a sun-drenched East Lake Golf Club.
That left the world number one at 19-under 191, three ahead of fellow American Mark Calcavecchia, who eagled the 15th on his way to a sparkling 63.
Spaniard Sergio Garcia shot a seven-birdie 64 to finish on 14 under, one ahead of Johnson in the fourth and final event of the FedExCup play-off series.
American Johnson, 10 strokes behind Woods overnight, eagled the 15th and also rattled up eight birdies to break the course record by two shots.
”It was an amazing day and a lot of fun,” a smiling Johnson told reporters after falling one short of the lowest 18-hole score on the PGA Tour. ”A lot of factors went my way and I started to make more putts.
”The greens are really soft and, if you hit it on line and solid, it’s going to go in.”
Woods, three ahead of the field overnight, briefly stretched his lead to five before losing ground with an outward nine of two-under 33.
However, he tightened his grip on the tournament with four birdies after the turn.
He rolled in a five-footer at the par-three 11th, struck his approach to two feet at the 14th and got up and down from a greenside bunker to birdie the 16th.
Woods, the FedExCup points leader, got to 19-under after another pinpoint approach set up a 10-footer at the 16th and he narrowly missed another birdie putt from seven feet at the par-three last.
Another player who took advantage of ideal scoring conditions was 2006 U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy, who shot a 10-birdie 62 to climb into a tie for seventh at 10 under.
”I’m really happy with that,” said Ogilvy, who had started the round 11 strokes off the pace. ”I wanted to shoot a decent score today [Saturday] and get back toward the right end of the field.
”I made a lot of birdies out there. I managed to make them from everywhere.” — Reuters