AKRON, Ohio - Tiger Woods had a two-shot lead at the NEC Invitational when storms approached and play was stopped for three hours. He returned to hit three full shots - none of them good - and fell into a tie for the lead Saturday when the third round was suspended.
After spending 10 hours at Firestone, Woods was tied with Kenny Perry at 7 under with three holes to finish this morning.
Perry is not through, either.
Thanks to two birdie putts from off the green, Perry was 6-under for his round and facing a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to shoot 63.
Paul McGinley of Ireland was another shot back through 15 holes, while Stuart Appleby reached the 667-yard 16th hole in two shots for the second time this week and was 5 under through 16 holes. Two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal finished his round with a 66 and was the clubhouse leader at 4-under 206.
"The day was great. The ending was not," Perry said.
Twenty players did not finish the third round.
Perry was repairing his pitch mark on the green when the siren sounded to stop play the second time, and Perry has been on the PGA Tour long enough to know what to expect - a return at 7:30 this morning.
"I think they called it too soon," he said.
Woods was 4-under for his round and had a two-shot lead when the round was stopped the first time. He had a difficult flop shot from left of the par-3 15th green, and returned to hit it 10 feet past the hole. His par putt caught the right lip, and Woods walked off the green cursing. He followed that with a drive into deep rough to the left of the 16th fairway.
"I didn't really put myself in very good shape on 16, so hopefully I can escape with a par there and make something happen the last couple of holes," he said.
Woods ended his second round with a double bogey to slip into a tie for the lead with Luke Donald, and he was in trouble on the opening hole with a 2-iron off the tee into a bunker. But he saved par with a 6-foot putt, then quickly seized control with a good break and some good putting.
Then came the weather delays.
The first one lasted 3 hours, 11 minutes. And after 31 players trudged back into position, the siren sounded again in about 20 minutes.
Perry still had enough time to deliver some entertainment. He was trying to escape with par after hitting into the trees on the ninth hole, and it turned out even better when he holed a 50-foot putt for birdie from just off the green. He went from despair to delight on the 16th hole, where his sand wedge flew into the cup, popped out and went 25 feet away just off the green.
He wound up making that one for birdie, anyway.
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