DORAL, Fla. – In his second season on the PGA Tour, Patrick Reed already is used to playing in the final group on a Sunday — and winning.
But not against a field of stars at a World Golf Championships event. And not looking at a familiar figure in a red shirt playing in the group ahead of him.
Reed turned his game around in four holes Saturday at the Cadillac Championship and wound up with a 3-under-par 69 in much tamer conditions at Doral. It gave him a two-shot lead going into a final round that will prominently feature defending champion Tiger Woods for the first time this year.
Top-ranked Woods, who one day earlier looked to be on the verge of shooting himself out of the tournament, delivered the low round of the week and his best round of a short season. He made eight birdies for a 66 and was three shots behind.
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“That’s fine,” Reed said. “I’ve seen Tiger a lot on the driving range. Never had the opportunity to play with him and I still haven’t been able to play with him. Whenever he’s close to the lead, he’s a guy you have to watch out for. But at the same time, I have to go and just play my own game.”
Reed, a 23-year-old Texan seeking his third victory in his last 14 tournaments, did that beautifully on the revamped Blue Monster course.
Reed rolled in a 40-foot eagle putt on No. 8, and started the back nine with consecutive birdies. He drove the green on the par-4 16th for a two-putt birdie and the outright lead and finished the round at 4-under 212. He is two ahead of PGA champion Jason Dufner (68) and Hunter Mahan (71).
Ryan Moore (69) of Puyallup was tied for 14th place at 2 over.
The average score Saturday was 72.6, compared with 76.0 for Friday’s windy second round.
“I held it together yesterday — a long day, tough day — and that gave me a chance today,” said Woods, who had a 73 in the second round and is seeking to win at Doral for the fifth time.
“I figured, ‘Hey, I’m only six back. That’s definitely doable, especially with the conditions and how difficult this golf course is playing. If I just get back to even par for the tournament, I’ll be right there.’ And I did one better.”
• Chesson Hadley, playing in his 13th PGA Tour event, took the third-round lead in the Puerto Rico Open by shooting a 5-under 67 in windy conditions in Rio Grande. Hadley was at 16-under 200, one stroke ahead of Danny Lee (66).
Richard H. Lee (68), a former Washington Husky, was tied for 10th at 11 under.
• Canadian Adam Hadwin shot a 5-under 67 and leads the Chile Classic in Santiago at 13-under 203.
Andrew Putnam (68), who is from University Place, was tied for seventh at 10 under and Andres Gonzales (70) of Olympia was tied for 15th at 9 under.
As for ex-Washington Huskies, Troy Kelly (70) was tied for 25th place at 7 under and Nick Taylor (70) was tied for 50th at 4 under.