THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Based on history alone, the most comfortable part of Graeme McDowell’s position is being at Sherwood Country Club.
Ever since he first showed up at the World Challenge in 2009 as a last-minute replacement for tournament host Tiger Woods, McDowell has broken par in every round he has played. Saturday was no exception. He rolled in two long birdie putts early in the third round and stretched his streak to 29 holes without a bogey when he walked off the 18th green with 4-under-par 68.
As for his two-shot lead? That’s not always his best spot from which to win.
McDowell’s past three wins started with at least a three-shot deficit. He has never won when he had the outright lead.
“I’m not sure how many times I’ve won from the front,” McDowell said. “Hopefully, I’ll add one tomorrow.”
All he knows is that it doesn’t figure to be easy to pick up his first win in two years.
Keegan Bradley had to cope with more fallout on the proposed ban of the belly putting stroke when he said one man in the gallery called him a “cheater.” It didn’t keep the former PGA champion from 5-under 67 to get into the final pairing with McDowell today.
Woods, a five-time champion at Sherwood, kept himself in the game. Even though Woods failed to birdie any of the five par 5s, he picked up a pair of birdies on the final two par 3s and added a third to salvage 69 that left him five shots behind.
“I’m going to have to shoot a low one tomorrow and see what happens,” Woods said.
McDowell is at 13-under 203, and will try to win from the front for the first time since he was tied for the 54-hole lead at the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond in 2008.
NEDBANK GOLF CHALLENGE: In Sun City, South Africa, Martin Kaymer holed a tricky 10-foot par putt on the final hole for 2-under-par 70 and a one-stroke lead.
Kaymer is 5-under overall at Gary Player Country Club in the 12-man event.
Louis Oosthuizen is second after 69, and countryman and former Masters Tournament winner Charl Schwartzel is another stroke back after a 70.
Bernhard Langer won the Nedbank Champions Challenge seniors event, shooting 74 for a two-stroke victory over Jay Haas. Langer finished at 7-under 209.