ATLANTA, (Reuters) – Kenny Perry, boosted by a sizzling four-birdie start, overhauled fellow American Tiger Woods to grab a two-shot lead after the Tour Championship third round yesterday.
The 49-year-old, peppering the flags with brilliant approach play at East Lake Golf Club, fired a sparkling six-under-par 64 to take control of the PGA Tour’s fourth and final playoff event.
Three strokes behind the pacesetting Woods overnight, Perry recorded seven birdies and a three-putt bogey at the sixth to post an eight-under total of 202.
World number one Woods, seeking his seventh victory of the year on the U.S. circuit, carded a topsy-turvy 69 to lie second in the elite 30-man field.
American left-hander Phil Mickelson, who says his putting is better than it has been in two years, returned a 66 to share third place at four under with compatriot Sean O’Hair (70).
“I wasn’t expecting that kind of start especially on this golf course,” Perry told reporters after putting himself in prime position to win his 15th PGA Tour title.
“I hit it beautifully. I drove it great. The couple of times I missed the fairway I was able to recover. Those opening four holes really set the tone. It was a very comfortable round of golf,” said Perry, who has triumphed twice this year.
Perry has a golden opportunity to clinch his sixth Tour title in two years but he is less likely to land FedExCup playoff honours, along with the $10 million bonus.
For Perry to secure the season-long FedExCup trophy he needs Woods to finish in a four-way tie for fourth or worse on Sunday — along with two other scenarios.