DORAL, Fla. --Tiger Woods showed that his lower back and his golf game are both in good shape, but it was Patrick Reed who took charge Saturday at the Blue Monster at Trump National Doral.
Reed shot a three-under-par 69 on a cool, sunny day and was at four-under 212 after three rounds of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship.
That gave him a two-shot lead over Jason Dufner, who shot 68, and Hunter Mahan, who shot 71.
Woods was tied for fourth with Jamie Donaldson at 215, three shots behind Reed, after taking advantage of Saturday's light winds to shoot the lowest round of the tournament, a six-under 66 with eight birdies. A week ago, Woods withdrew from the final round of the Honda Classic because of spasms in his lower back.
Zach Johnson, Dustin Johnson and Miguel Angel Jimenez were tied for sixth in the 68-player field at even-par 216.
“I felt like I got a lot out of my round,” said Reed, who had an eagle, three birdies and two bogeys. “I stayed in my rhythm, stayed in my golf game and my game plan, and that's why I'm sitting here with the lead.”
Reed, 23, has won two PGA Tour events since August, the most recent the Humana Challenge in January.
He had taken the lead with a 68 in the rain-delayed, darkness-suspended first round, which he concluded Friday morning. A second-round 75 in gale-like conditions that afternoon put him in a four-way tie for first with Mahan, Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar.
“Yesterday it felt like it was blowing a hundred,” Reed said of the winds of 20-30 mph that saw 113 golf balls end up in the water. “It felt like today, if we hit quality golf shots, we could hit it real close and make a lot of birdies.”
Reed bogeyed the par-four third hole when he said he hit a “perfect three-wood” half a yard too far, into the rough.
He eagled the 539-yard, par-five eighth hole after reaching the green in two and sinking a 41-foot putt. After a par on No. 9, he birdied the par-five 10th by getting up and down from a greenside bunker and knocked his approach on the 11th to five feet for another birdie.
“To make that eagle gave me a little momentum,” Reed said. “I hit a great iron shot on nine and I feel like I hit a perfect putt that didn't go in. To birdie 10 and 11 back-to-back just kind of jump-started the round.”
Having won both times he had the lead going into the final round, Reed said he is not bothered by the thought of Woods and the others who will be chasing him Sunday when he tees off in the final pairing with Dufner. After all, he said, if he has the lead, he must be playing well.
Dufner was two over for his round after he doubled-bogeyed the par-three fourth when his tee shot at the pin rolled into the water. He birdied six of his next seven holes.
“I was four over for the tournament and wasn't feeling too good about how things were going,” Dufner said. “I was able to calm down and get the tournament back to where I could compete to win tomorrow.”
It helped that the wind wasn't howling like the previous day, which Dufner said was highly unusual. “I can't remember the conditions changing so much where the wind was blowing 20, 30, and then you get an absolute perfect day like we had today.”
Woods took advantage more than anyone.
“Now it's playing more like a normal course,” he said.
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