- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 11, 2009

AUGUSTA, GA. (AP) - Tiger Woods showed no signs of making a charge Saturday at the Masters. Instead, it was Phil Mickelson climbing the leaderboard, trying to chase down Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell.

Perry and Campbell started the third round tied for the lead, and they stayed even with matching birdies at the par-5 second hole, getting to 10 under overall.

Woods’ pursuit of a fifth green jacket kicked off with an opening tee shot into the trees left of the fairway. He wound up three-putting for a double-bogey 6.

Even though he bounced back with a pair of birdies, he was only 36 at the turn and still 2 under for the tournament _ a daunting eight strokes behind the leaders.

Mickelson, who was flirting with missing cut before rallying on the back nine Friday, carried his momentum into the third round. He birdied both par-5s on the front side, made pars on the other seven holes and headed to the back side at 5 under.

Padraig Harrington’s hopes of winning a third straight major likely ended with a quadruple-bogey 9 at the par-5 second hole. He tried to rally with three birdies before the turn, but fell back again with back-to-back bogeys to start the back side.

After severe storms swept the Augusta National course overnight, the third round was held under blue skies and a brilliant sun. The softer greens left open the possibility of another assault on the scoreboard, which happened over the first two rounds, but the men in green have ways of keeping the scores from going too low: tougher pin placements and pushed-back tees.

Rory McIlroy was just glad to still be around. The 19-year-old played the final three holes Friday at 5 over, making the cut on the number, and got a reprieve from the rules committee after kicking the sand in disgust when he couldn’t get out of the bunker at No. 18.

He posted one of the first scores of the day, a solid 71 that finished with 10 straight pars.

Woods has spent his time in Augusta plodding around the course, doing just enough to stay on the fringe of contention. For the third year in a row, he’s showing none of the Tiger bravado at a place that’s given him four of his 14 majors, preferring to play it safe rather than attacking the course.

Anthony Kim was sure throwing caution to the wind. He set a Masters record on Friday with 11 birdies and posted the best score of the day, a 7-under 65. The 23-year-old Californian took another stroke off his score Saturday with a birdie at No. 2, but a double-bogey 6 at the fifth hole halted his momentum.

Angel Cabrera, a perennial Augusta contender, was at 8 under, while Tom Clark, Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker were another two strokes back.

The 48-year-old Perry was playing like the Woods of 1997, even as he tries to become the oldest major winner in golf history. The Kentucky native kept pulling out his driver and wound up with a bogey-free 67 Friday that looked downright easy, even as a swirling breeze kicked up.

Perry is about four months older than Julius Boros when he won the 1968 PGA Championship.

As for Woods, he’s got a lot of work to if wants to win his fifth green jacket _ a feat that looked more and more unlikely as Saturday dragged on with little to get excited about.

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