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Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods will go head to head in China

Mickelson leads Woods by two shots. They will play in the final group for the first time since 2005.

November 08, 2009|Associated Press

A rivalry that was renewed six weeks ago in Atlanta continued halfway around the world in Shanghai when Tiger Woods stalled with pars and Phil Mickelson poured in three birdies over his last five holes for a five-under-par 67 and a two-shot lead over Woods and Nick Watney in the HSBC Champions.

The world's top two players will be in the final group for the first time since their duel at Doral in 2005, when Woods rallied from a two-shot deficit in the final round to win by one.

"I know we are both looking forward to it," said Mickelson, who was at 14-under 202. "I think it will be a fun day, and we are excited to be playing in the last group here in China."

Woods wasn't terribly pleased to be in this position. He took his first outright lead with a 15-foot birdie putt on the eighth hole. After another 15-foot birdie putt on the 10th, his lead was up to two.

That turned out to be his last birdie of the round. He missed one opportunity on the par-five 14th, badly missed on a six-foot birdie putt on the 16th and finished his round by driving into the rough and hitting his approach into the bunker on the par-five 18th, having to save par for a two-under 70.

"I didn't putt as well as I did the first two days," said Woods, who opened with rounds of 67-67. "And the back nine, I didn't take advantage of the par fives and 16. I hit it in there stiff and missed that one as well. Consequently, I was three shots worse."

Not to be forgotten is Watney, who completes the final group. After a three-putt bogey on the 17th, the 28-year-old sank a 50-foot eagle on the 18th for a 70 to join Woods at 12-under 204.

"I suppose I'm kind of the odd man out there," Watney said. "But the goal in golf is always to improve, and tomorrow will be a big step for me. Regardless of the outcome, I'll get a chance to watch these guys and see how they handle themselves, and hopefully, I can handle myself well too."


Song wins

South Korea's Bo Bae Song won the Mizuno Classic for her first LPGA Tour title, closing with a four-under 68 for a three-stroke victory over Lorena Ochoa, Brittany Lang and Hee Young Park at Shima, Japan.

Song finished with a 15-under 201 total and earned $210,000

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