Originally created 08/20/00

Tiger stumbles but keeps lead



LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The good news for Scott Dunlap and Bob May is that they are only one shot out of the lead heading into today's final round of the 82nd PGA Championship.

The bad news is that Tiger Woods, the world's top player, is in front of them at Valhalla Golf Club.

The 24-year-old Woods, seeking his third straight win in a major, stumbled uncharacteristically down the stretch Saturday, making today's final round a bit of a horse race.

Should Woods get to the finish line first, he'll match Ben Hogan's feat of winning three straight majors in a single year. He also is in line to become the first player to win back-to-back PGA Championships since Denny Shute did it in 1936-37, and the first repeat winner since the championship went to stroke play in 1958.

Also within sight is the PGA scoring record of 17-under par. Woods already holds the scoring records in relation to par at the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open.

"A lot of players are out there, which is going to make it even more fun to go out there and have a challenge like that," Woods said. "I am going to have a good time (today)."

On a course ripe for the taking, Woods could manage only a 2-under 70 Saturday. Low scores were the story of the day, capped by Jose Maria Olazabal's course-record 63. Thomson native Franklin Langham and Tom Watson each shot 7-under 65s.

Scoring was so good, in fact, that a record 53 players broke par on the 7,167-yard Valhalla layout.

Of the top 10 players on the leaderboard, only Woods and Olazabal have major championships to their credit. J.P. Hayes is alone in fourth place, two shots back, while Greg Chalmers is three back in fifth place. Olazabal, Thomas Bjorn, Stuart Appleby, Langham and Notah Begay III round out the top 10.

"I am telling you, to shoot 70 as poorly as I struck the golf ball, I thought that was pretty good," Woods said. "And to go in there (today) with the lead, it is an added bonus."

Woods looked as if he would put the tournament out of reach, touring the front nine in 3-under 33. He added another birdie on the par-5 10th to further pad his lead.

But on the 12th, a poor drive caused Woods to miss the green. He pitched on, missed his par putt and then missed a three-footer for bogey. Dunlap, paired with Woods, rolled in a short birdie putt to gain a share of the lead.

Woods faltered again with a bogey on the 15th hole after missing the green with his approach. He did birdie the final hole, two-putting from 40 feet, to regain the lead.

Dunlap couldn't stand prosperity, making bogeys on Nos. 14 and 17 before birdieing the final hole.

May, meanwhile, turned in a solid 66 that featured a 32 on the front nine.

Both Dunlap and May, winless on the PGA Tour, are looking to today's final round as a learning experience.

"It is going to be fun," said May, a 31-year-old Las Vegas resident who is paired with Woods for the final round. "It is going to be a great learning experience, but there is not a whole bunch of pressure on me. I am not supposed to win tomorrow. He is. At least that is the way everyone looks at it. That is fine with me."

"I think if you are nervous about playing with Tiger, nervous about the position you are in then I think the start of the round is key," said Dunlap, who calls Duluth, Ga., home. "I expect to go out and play another good round because I felt good about (Saturday). I can't control what anyone else does, but I expect to play well."

Woods produced runaway victories earlier this summer at the U.S. Open and British Open. He entered the final rounds with leads of 10 and six shots, respectively, at those events.

The last player to overtake Woods when he held the lead going into the final round was Lee Westwood, who won the Deutsche Bank tournament in May. Darren Clarke beat Woods 4 and 3 in the finals of the Andersen Consulting Match Play Championship earlier this year, while Phil Mickelson and Hal Sutton both held off Woods for wins.

"Tiger's pressure is searching for a place in record books," Dunlap said. "Pressure for Bob and myself will be a first win on tour, much less a major."