/ 16 August 2009

Tiger seeks wire-to-wire PGA win

Tiger Woods will attempt to become just the second two-time wire-to-winner of the PGA Championship when he goes into the Sunday’s final round with a two-stroke lead.

Woods has done it before in 2000, making him just one of four players to lead all four days in the final major championship of the season. Fellow American Raymond Floyd went wire-to-wire in 1969 and 1982.

”I am in a good spot,” Woods said. ”I’ve got a two-shot lead going into the final round. I was pretty consistent all day.”

Woods fired a one-under 71 in the third round on Saturday to take a two-shot lead over Ireland’s Padraig Harrington and South Korea’s Yang Yong-Eun.

He is paired on Sunday with Yang, who beat him in 2006 to win the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai. But this will be Yang’s first head-to-head battle with the world number one in a major.

There is a long list of contenders who have wilted under Woods’ final round glare and it remains to be seen how Yang will react.

Woods says managing his emotions will be key on Sunday.

”We are fighting for a major championship. We are all nervous out there,” said Woods, who is 14-for-14 in majors when leading after 54 holes.

”I am in the same boat as everyone else. But you have got to go out there and execute shots and that’s the fun. That’s the rush the thrill of it. That’s why you play hard.”

Woods has been the centre of attention all week at Hazeltine National Golf Club with hundreds of people turning to watch his early morning practice.

Woods did not compete in the 2008 PGA Championship after having surgery on his left knee, missing a chance to defend the title he won in 2007.

With a win at Hazeltine, Woods would tie Walter Hagen and Jack Nicklaus for most wins in PGA Championship history with five.

Woods tries not to think about the historic significance of a victory but admits the five wins have crossed his mind.

”I have a long way to go before that happens,” he said. ”Hopefully I can play a good enough round tomorrow and get into that position.”

The scoring will get tougher on Sunday as thunderstorms are in the forecast.

Woods broke away from the field on Friday but settled back into a groove on Saturday as others took a run at him. His lead was cut to two shots but with his record as a front runner, he looks to be in command.

”It depends on the weather tomorrow,” he said. ”How much rain we get overnight and how soft the golf course is going to play.

”You just have to go out there and compete and play that is what is so much fun about it.” — AFP