Torrid Woods leaves field in dust with a 62
Tiger Woods started with a bogey. His best shot of the day led to a par.
It turned out to be his best round of the year.
Getting better with every shot, Woods broke the course record at Cog Hill and blew away the field yesterday in the BMW Championship in Lemont, Ill., with a 9-under-par 62 that gave him a seven-shot lead.
“After I got past the first hole I was doing all right,’’ Woods said. “It was one of those days that kind of built upon itself.’’
Brandt Snedeker finished with four straight birdies for a 66 and will play with Woods for the first time today. He could probably think of better circumstances.
“I’ve got to do something spectacular,’’ Snedeker said, “and he’s got to maybe have a heart attack out there for me to have a chance.’’
Marc Leishman had a two-shot lead when he made the turn. Could he have imagined shooting 1 over on the back nine and finding himself seven shots behind?
“You wouldn’t think so,’’ he said. “But like I say, it’s Tiger.’’
The 62 tied the tournament record - an event that dates to 1899 - set last year by Jim Furyk at Bellerive outside St. Louis.
Woods is at 16-under 197 and has his largest lead on the PGA Tour since he was eight shots in front in the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines last year. He wound up winning by eight shots.
This was Woods at his finest, even though he wasn’t flawless.
He dropped his 3-wood in disgust after his opening tee shot sailed to the left into a bunker, leading to a sloppy bogey. He followed that by missing a 10-foot birdie putt on the next hole. Woods started the third round tied for the lead, and already was three shots behind when he stood on the tee at the par-3 sixth and faced a dangerous pin - all the way to the left, protected by deep bunkers front and back.
“Even if you bail out to the right, it’s a tough putt,’’ Woods said. “The only thing you can’t do there is go in the back bunker. That’s one of the reasons why I didn’t hit a 6-iron and try to hold it in there. But I had to hit the 7-iron really good to get it there, and I pulled it off.’’
Following that par, he never missed another green.
His signature shot was a 3-wood from just over 300 yards to 10 feet at the par-5 ninth for an eagle, so pure that the gallery crammed into the bleacher rose to its feet when the ball finally stopped rolling.
Woods knocked it to take the lead, and it only got bigger.
It will be his first time with the 54-hole lead since the PGA Championship last month at Hazeltine, where Y.E. Yang made up a two-shot deficit and became the first player to beat Woods from behind in a major.
Yang is 25 shots behind at Cog Hill.
Matt Kuchar improved his Tour Championship hopes with a 66 and was tied for fourth at 205 with Padraig Harrington (69).
LPGA - Song-Hee Kim finished with a 3-under 68 for a two-shot lead over Angela Stanford (69) at the P&G Beauty NW Arkansas Championship in Rogers.
Kim is at 9-under 133 entering the final round.
Na Yeon Choi shot a 65 for the day’s low round and was tied for third with Yani Tseng (68) and Sun Young Yoo (67), a stroke behind Stanford.
Kim hit only 6 of 13 fairways in the second round of the 54-hole event, but she’s in good position to win for the first time on tour.
First-round leader Sandra Gal shot a 76 to drop seven shots back.
Walker Cup - Mattapoisett’s Peter Uihlein, a sophomore at Oklahoma State, rolled in an 18-foot par putt at the 18th hole as he teamed with Nathan Smith for a 1-up alternate-shot victory that helped the United States take an 8-4 lead over Great Britain and Ireland at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.
Uihlein also won his singles match, 2 and 1, over Tommy Fleetwood.
Rickie Fowler posted two lopsided victories and the Americans won three singles matches and halved four others on the opening day of the biennial amateur competition.
European - Peter Hanson shot a 5-under 67 to lead Simon Dyson (68), Soren Hansen (70), and James Kingston (70) by a stroke after three rounds of the Mercedes-Benz Championship in Cologne, Germany. Hanson is at 11-under 205.