Golf: Woods alone in class of 62

SUDDENLY, THE man who everyone said would dominate golf is doing so - and in a way that suggests his delivery is now permanently matching his promise. Two weeks after clinching the PGA Championship, Tiger Woods scored a remarkable eight under par 62 in the third round of the the NEC World Invitational in Akron, Ohio.

The result was the conversion of a two-shot deficit into a five- shot lead, the eclipsing of Fred Couples' earlier 63, and the extinction, for this tournament at least, of Sergio Garcia's pretension to his mantle.

In the first couple of days the two sensations were paired together. As Woods was quietly putting himself in position for his Saturday move, Garcia was in under the trees, behind the trees, everywhere but inside one of the trees. Sometimes he could not even see Woods for the trees. It is a measure of the man's magic that he kept pace.

Come yesterday he did so again - until Tiger came to what is often, for very good reason, called the turn. At the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th and 16th he fired in short irons that left him birdie putts of no greater distance than eight feet. He converted five of them and found himself five ahead. Indeed, about the only blemish in his round was the six-footer for a 61 he missed at the last..

Garcia, meanwhile, was his usual entertaining self, sinking a couple of long putts for birdies, but then, at the 15th, finally tangling with the trees one time too many. It cost him a shot and suddenly a romp was turning into a hard day. It became even tougher at the 18th when a topped seven-iron from the rough went all of 20 feet on the way to a double-bogey six.

It was proving a similarly arduous day for Carlos Franco as he saw shots slip away and his second-round lead comprehensively overtaken. But, being raised in serious poverty in Paraguay, he is unlikely to describe any day among the trimmed lawns of the Firestone Country Club as hard work.

Hailed as this year's Tour "overnight" success by virtue of winning twice in his first year, he is, in fact, 34, and toiled for years on the Japanese circuit. He hails from a country that has just three golf courses and, just to add to the degree of difficulty, is a Paraguayan who communicates with his American caddie in Japanese. He, too dropped a shot at the last, and is now six behind.

To win, Franco would need Woods to have a series of brainstorms. There would also then be the little matter of overcoming the combined might of the two Ryder Cup sides. Or to be more accurate, one of them. The other one, the one from Europe, was - Garcia apart - less than than illustrious, averaging more than two shots a man worse than the US team in the first two rounds, and only marginally improving on that in the third.

Paul Lawrie let slip a share of the overnight lead as he dropped shots on the front nine; the Masters champion, Jose Maria Olazabal, brought up the rear, thanks to a second round 80; Lee Westwood had a 70 to remain six over par; Jarmo Sandelin had a 73; Darren Clarke and Jean Van de Velde were so far back that their sub-par rounds of 69 and 68 respectively were barely relevant.

Indeed, Europe had only one player in a 41-man field in the first 14. Come back, Nick Faldo, all is forgiven.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk