Tiger still four clear at Sherwood

Tiger Woods celebrates a birdie putt during the third round of the Chevron World Challenge golf...

Tiger Woods celebrates a birdie putt during the third round of the Chevron World Challenge golf tournament in Thousand Oaks, California on December 4, 2010. (LUCY NICHOLSON/Reuters)

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 7:52 PM ET

THOUSAND OAKS, CA - Tiger Woods posted his third straight sub-par round Saturday to remain four strokes clear of Graeme McDowell after three rounds of the Chevron World Challenge.

Woods carded a four-under 68 in the third round to finish 54 holes at 17- under-par 199. He missed the tournament's 54-hole scoring record by two shots.

McDowell, the runner-up last year and reigning U.S. Open champion, matched Woods' 68 to remain alone in second at minus-13 at Sherwood Country Club.

Paul Casey moved into third place at nine-under-par 207 after posting a 69.

Americans Hunter Mahan and Sean O'Hair both shot 70s in round three and are tied for fourth with Luke Donald (73) and Rory McIlroy (73).

Woods has had his first winless season as a professional and lost the No. 1 world ranking while struggling with his personal problems this year.

Still, he could regain the No. 1 ranking with a win this week and some help from new No. 1 Lee Westwood. However, the Englishman has a five-shot lead in South Africa.

Woods returned to the event that benefits his foundation for the first time since winning it for the fourth time in 2007.

The 34-year-old bogeyed the par-five second as his early lead was cut to two. However, Woods rebounded starting at the fifth.

He birdied that par-five to regain a two-stroke cushion. Woods rolled in a birdie effort from about 15 feet on No. 6 and made it three in a row with a three-footer at the seventh.

With the spurt, Woods was suddenly five clear of McDowell, who was playing in the final group with the tournament host. Woods two-putted for birdie on 11, but his lead was cut to four as McDowell birdied 10 and 11.

Woods faltered to a three-putt bogey on the 15th and was just three clear. He came right back with a short birdie putt on the 16th to get back to 16-under, then closed with a kick-in birdie to end four clear of his playing partner.

"Today's back nine was certainly interesting. There were a couple possible two-shot swings that didn't materialize. Three of them, actually," Woods said. "But it was a pretty good day overall. I thought I hit the ball a little bit better than I did yesterday. Greens were tough. A few more difficult pins today, so they were tough to get at."

Despite his bogey on the par-five second, Woods is 12-under par on the par- fives this week.

"I just felt if I could take care of the par-fives, which I didn't really do since I only played them in two-under, I could shoot a pretty good number," Woods stated. "But four-under is good score. Tied Graeme today, and no loss between my lead."

McDowell twice had back-to-back birdies, but did little else. He birdied the second and third. He later dropped his only shot of his round on No. 7.

Around the turn, McDowell's birdies on 10 and 11 got him within four. He parred the next six holes before matching Woods' birdie at the last.

NOTES: Defending champion Jim Furyk posted a 71 to move into 12th place at even-par 216. After the round, it was announced by PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem that Furyk has been voted PGA Tour Player of the Year...Woods shares the tournament lead with McDowell with 18 birdies...Woods has gone wire-to- wire seven times on the PGA Tour, but no one has done that in previous 11 years of this event...Woods has finished in the top-two at this tournament seven times in nine starts.


Videos

Photos