Tiger Woods began Saturday with a four-shot lead, lost it all, and then finished up with a two-shot advantage. (Squire/Getty Images)
After an up-and-down Moving Day, Woods again has lead to himself
Manageable playing conditions and a so-so outing by Tiger Woods allowed other players to make a charge. But just like Friday, Woods made shots when he had to and the others fell away late in the day at Hazeltine.
CHASKA, Minn. (AP) -- Tiger Woods was one round away from winning another major but he squandered a four-shot lead and drew more company than he wanted at the PGA Championship on Saturday.
Woods played so-so on another windy afternoon at Hazeltine National until his lead was gone. Only at the end of the day did he find some solace. One birdie on the back nine was enough for a 1-under 71. It gave him a two-shot lead over three-time major champion Padraig Harrington and Y.E. Yang.
Woods has never lost a major when leading going into the final round.
Only once in his career has he lost any tournament when leading by two shots or more.
"I played conservatively today," Woods said. "I didn't give myself a lot of looks. I was lag putting a lot. The only putt I really missed was on the three-putt. Other than that, it was a good, solid day."
He was at 8-under 208, finishing just as the rain arrived.
Harrington surged into a share of the lead with four birdies over an eight-hole span in the middle of the round, catching Woods with a 7-foot birdie putt on the short par-4 14th. Right when it appeared they would be paired in the final round for the second straight week, Harrington made his only bogey of the round by going over the 18th green and failing to save par.
He wound up with a 69, and much greater hopes of defending his U.S. PGA title than he had starting the day.
Woods will play in the final group with Yang, who matched the best round of the tournament with a 67. Yang won his first PGA Tour event this year at the Honda Classic, although the 37-year-old from South Korea was better known for taking down Woods at the HSBC Champions in China three years ago.
They weren't playing in the same group in 2006, however. And this will be Yang's first time contending in a major.
"It will be my first time playing with him, so I'll try not to go over par," he said with a smile. "But I've been looking forward to it. I've thought about playing with Tiger recently. Surprised it came true so fast."
Woods' four-shot lead was his largest in a major after 36 holes since he led by five at St. Andrews in 2005. Just like that British Open, his margin was cut to two shots going into the final round.
Suddenly, there are other challengers to try to stop Woods from winning his 15th career major, and first of the year.
Henrik Stenson, who captured The Players Championship in May, had a 68 and was in the group at 4-under 212 along with U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover (71).
Ernie Els pulled within one shot of the lead until he finished with three straight bogeys, leaving him with a 70 and five shots behind. He was disgusted with the end of his round, although the Big Easy spoke for so many others about the outlook on Sunday.
Woods has never been beaten at a major when leading. But at least they have a chance.
"You could really feel that there's a real championship going on around you," Els said. "It's not a runaway deal. Looked like a runaway thing at the end of yesterday. But it looks like the guys are really set to give Tiger a go, and the crowd could sense that."