Woods strikes in Germany


Tiger Woods grabbed the early third round lead in the 2.5 million dollars Deutsche Bank-SAP Open today with a storming eagle-birdie-birdie start.

The world No 1 and title-holder started the day two shots behind second round co-leaders Colin Montgomerie of Scotland and Alex Cejka of Germany, but he soon took control.

Woods was on the green in two at the par-five first and holed a long putt to set the ball rolling.

Birdies at the second and third gave him a two-stroke lead and another followed at the fifth as he went to five-under after five holes and 13 under for the tournament.

Cejka and Montgomerie strived to stay in touch, the German birdieing the first and the Scot the second as both moved to 11 under par.

Conditions were ideal for low scoring on the revamped par-72 St Leon-Rot course outside of Heidelberg.

It was in the third round last year that Woods made his move firing a nine-under par 63 to eliminate a 10-stroke deficit on second round leader Michael Campbell of New Zealand.

The world No 1 then went on to win the title by four strokes on the final day.

The way he was hitting the ball on Saturday, when only some absymal luck on the greens let him down, suggested he was capable of pulling ahead.

"I'm not angry or disappointed about where I'm at," said Woods after carding a 67 to go with his opening 69.

"I think you always want to be ahead, but being two back is not too many shots to make up."

Also in his favour is the fact that two of the big names ahead of him - Montgomerie and Darren Clarke, who is at nine-under, are struggling wiith injuries.

Montgomerie is taking pain-killers for a bad back, while Clarke is limping with a thigh muscle strain sustained while on a fly-fishing trip.

Joint leader Cejka had support from the big crowd gathered on a holiday weekend, with top German player Bernhard Langer out of the running at one-under after three rounds.