Duo battle on Blue Monster

3/9/2013 8:55:00 PM
Graeme McDowell   (Getty Images)
Graeme McDowell (Getty Images)
Tiger Woods and Graeme McDowell were involved in a thrilling jostle prior to the turn in the WGC - Cadillac Championship third round at Trump Doral.

The final pairing had initially seen the pressure cranked up as Fredrik Jacobson, who began four shots adrift of the lead, moved level with McDowell on 11 under via an eagle on the first.

Yet his outstanding approach on that hole, a stupendous three iron to eight feet, was matched by Woods and McDowell when they got under way.

The former had to settle for birdie as his putt came up just short, but 2010 US Open Championship winner McDowell found the centre of the cup to cut his partner’s lead.

Fourteen time Major Champion Woods delivered the perfect response on the next, however, as his wedge shot stopped inches shy of the hole to set up a birdie; McDowell could only manage par.

Both sunk identical eight footers for birdie at three, before an errant first putt on the next forced Woods to hole a 15 footer to match McDowell’s par - a feat he could not repeat on five as the Northern Irishman closed the gap.

Back to back pars followed for World Number Two Woods, but his increasingly confident rival holed from eight feet on seven to move level on 15 under.

The nip and tuck nature of proceedings continued on the par five eighth, though, as Woods recovered from a poor tee shot to set up a two-foot birdie putt with a glorious wedge, in the process moving a shot ahead.

Both parred the par three ninth, McDowell completing an outward 32 and Woods 33 to leave things beautifully poised heading into the back nine.

Steve Stricker was three strokes adrift of the former on the back of some trademark brilliance around the greens, while Charl Schwartzel - whose 65 yesterday was matched only by Woods - was 11 under par.

Back to back bogeys on three and four curtailed Jacobson’s progress, though a birdie on eight meant he was 10 under - one ahead of Sergio Garcia and Peter Hanson, who were three under through 14 and 13 respectively.