Ryder trio put leader Perry to the test

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The Independent Online

Chris Perry was defending a one-stroke lead last night in the final round of the Buick Open in Grand Blanc, Michigan, under pressure from the US Ryder Cup trio of Hal Sutton, Phil Mickelson and a relentless Tiger Woods.

Chris Perry was defending a one-stroke lead last night in the final round of the Buick Open in Grand Blanc, Michigan, under pressure from the US Ryder Cup trio of Hal Sutton, Phil Mickelson and a relentless Tiger Woods.

The American compiled a 65 on Saturday for a 15-under-par 201 total that left him a shot ahead of Rocco Mediate (70), with Sutton (69) sharing third place alongside Woody Austin (73) at 203.

Mickelson moved menacingly to 11 under par with seven birdies in a 65, while Woods showed that he is nicely prepared for the USPGA Championship, which starts on Thursday, with a 67 that included a double-bogey six. It was good enough for him to move up to a shared 14th place, six shots behind Perry.

"Anybody within six of the lead can win," said Perry, whose only victory came in the 1998 BC Open. He added: "All those guys are consistent winners and Tiger is capable of shooting 10 or 11 under here."

Perry drove on to the green at the 322-yard 14th and converted a 45-foot putt to add an eagle to the six birdies that edged him clear of Mediate, who played in the last group alongside Austin.

Their tussle for the 54-hole lead had only a smattering of spectators, most them having left after watching the pairing of Woods and Mickelson, who had teed off 90 minutes earlier.

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