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Friday, 19 March 2010
PGA Championship - Round Three  (Getty Images)
PGA Championship - Round Three (Getty Images)

Overnight rain softened the long Hazeltine National course as Tiger Woods prepared to defend a two shot lead in the final round of the US PGA Championship.

A third of an inch of rain had fallen on the 7,674 yard, par 72 Minnesota course since Woods completed his third round 71 to reach eight under par for the tournament and close in on a 15th Major victory and record tying fifth US PGA Championship title.

Playing conservative, low risk golf, the World Number One had seen his four stroke halfway lead cut in half by Korean Y E Yang's five under 67, and defending champion Padraig Harrington, whose 69 had been a four shot improvement on the Irishman's second round.

Also within reach of Woods was Henrik Stenson of Sweden and American US Open Championship winner Lucas Glover, a further two shots in arrears at four under par, with Denmark's Søren Kjeldsen and Ernie Els of South Africa at three under.

Woods was paired with Yang for the final round with Harrington partnering Ryder Cup team-mate Stenson in the penultimate group out, and also had history on his side having converted all 14 of his 54 hole Major leads into victories.

Having been asked his thoughts about the possibility of tying with Walter Hagen and Jack Nicklaus as five time winners of the US PGA, Woods warned there was a long way to go before that scenario unfolded.

The rain softened ground at Hazeltine National was going to make the longest course in Major Championship history an even longer trek, as the early starters on Sunday were finding out.

With just over a third of the 79 man field out on the course, only American JJ Henry and Denmark's Søren Hansen were under par, the Dane having birdied the first to get to five over after two holes.

Henry, meanwhile, was at eight over par playing the 12th having carded four birdies and three bogeys.

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