Hot putter puts Tiger Woods two shots clear at Arnold Palmer Invitational
Tiger Woods produced a superb display of putting to jump into the lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Last Updated: 24/03/13 5:46pm
Woods started the third round four strokes behind joint leaders Justin Rose and Bill Haas after bogeying his final three holes on Friday but ended it two shots in front after firing a six-under 66 to reach 11-under.
Seven-time Bay Hill winner Woods will go to world number one if he can add an eighth victory at the Florida course and, thanks to his putter, it looks very much on the cards.
Tiger set the tone when he saved par from 12 feet at the very first hole and, amazingly, holed 17 out of his 18 putts from inside 20 feet as he finished the day two clear of Rose, Rickie Fowler and John Huh.
Joint halfway leaders Rose and Haas were fast out of the blocks with birdies at both of the opening two holes and when Rose eagled four and Haas doubled the fifth the Englishman was four shots clear of the field.
Rose cooled down from there with bogeys at the seventh and 10th although a birdie at the 12th put him back into a three-shot lead again.
However, that was wiped out in a flash as he bogeyed 13 just moments after Woods sank a 19 footer for eagle at the 16th.
Tiger led on his own for the first time as the unravelling Rose added another bogey at 14 and a three-putt at 17 made it five in 11 holes. A par at the last saw Rose sign for a level par 72.
Fowler will partner Tiger in the final pairing after being the first to post nine-under after a second successive 67 while Rose (72) and Huh (71) will be out in the second last group.
Haas, meanwhile, is in a five-man bunch on eight-under - three behind - after a 73.
That group includes European duo Thorbjorn Olesen and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano. Dane Olesen matched Tiger's joint-best-of-the-day 66 after making birdies at five of his first six holes and closing with two more at 16 and 18.