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Tiger Woods (62) puts on a clinic

Woods leads BMW Championship by seven shots at Cog Hill.

September 13, 2009|Teddy Greenstein

So this is what greatness looks like.

It's a man hitting 16 of 18 greens on a rugged course and breezy day, a man beating the field average by nearly nine shots, a man making eagle on a 610-yard hole, a man flirting with perfection and then saying of his swing: "You are never near the finished product."

Tiger Woods shot a nine-under-par 62 Saturday in the third round of the BMW Championship at Lemont, Ill., to break the Cog Hill tournament record by one shot.

Woods is at 16 under after a posting a 31-31on the Dubsdread course, good for a seven-shot lead heading into today.

"He made it look very easy, that's for sure," playing partner Mark Wilson said. "It's tough when you walk away nine strokes worse than your playing partner and feel like you're happy about the round."

Brandt Snedeker and Australian Marc Leishman are tied for second at nine under.

"I have to do something spectacular," Snedeker said, "and he has to maybe have a heart attack out there."

Woods' 68-67-62 start means he will need to shoot 65 today to equal the 72-hole Cog Hill tournament record.

Who currently owns it? Take a wild guess. Woods posted a 262 at the 2007 BMW.

"I've always felt comfortable playing this golf course," he said.

Woods' dominance makes it a bit uncomfortable for club officials, who know that low scores -- no matter who shoots them -- won't help their case to land a U.S. Open.

"I didn't think a 62 was possible," Cog Hill owner Frank Jemsek said. "I'm impressed and glad he played well, but overall we were hoping to make the course harder. But it's hard to stop that kind scoring when [Woods] can knock it on a 610-yard hole in two."

Perhaps it's a small consolation that Matt Kuchar, after shooting a third-round 66, said of Cog Hill: "God, I can't think of many courses that are tougher. If the USGA wants to set it up, they could make this as hard as any course in the country."

Cog Hill played to 7,441 yards Saturday, 175 yards short of its official, post-Rees Jones renovation max.

Jones, perhaps, can take pride in the fact Woods keeps playing the first hole like a hacker. He bogeyed it for the second straight day, again driving left into a fairway bunker.

But then it was sheer domination. Woods drained a 15-footer for birdie on No. 3, then flushed a seven-iron on the 187-yard sixth hole that left him just three feet from the cup.

He made another three-footer for birdie on No. 8 and then went superhuman on the ninth, hammering home a 10-footer for eagle after a drive of 311 yards and an approach of 306.

The eagle got him to 11 under, one ahead of Leishman.

"After seeing what Marc was doing ahead of us," Woods said, "I figured that you had to get into double digits."

So, what, triple digits below par is too much to ask?

Woods' 62 is one off his career low on the PGA Tour. If he had not come up three inches short on a birdie try at the 16th, he would have matched that all-time best.

"It was a round that just kind of built upon itself," Woods said. "I kept hitting good shots and making good putts and, lo and behold, I ended up at nine under par."

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Kim leads LPGA

Song-Hee Kim shot a three-under 68 and has a two-shot lead over Angela Stanford after two rounds of the P&G Beauty NW Arkansas Championship at Rogers, Ark.

Kim is at nine-under 133. Stanford shot a 69. First-round leader Sandra Gal went from a 64 to a 76.

Stanford's season began in promising fashion with a victory at the SBS Open and two more top-10 finishes. In late June, however, she announced that her mother, Nan, would soon begin chemotherapy

In her next tournament, Stanford finished tied for 49th. She then missed the cut at the U.S. Women's Open and finished tied for 52nd at the Evian Masters.

"I really thought I was going to handle it better, and I didn't right off the bat," Stanford said. "Now, it is a new normal. . . . We know what's going to happen, and we know it's going to be a good end. So that makes it a lot easier."

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Walker Cup

The United States took an 8-4 lead over Britain and Ireland in the Walker Cup at Ardmore, Pa., behind the strong play of Rickie Fowler, who took part in two lopsided victories Saturday in the amateur event at Merion Golf Club.

The U.S. is going for its third consecutive victory.

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tgreenstein@tribune.com

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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