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Harrington has Tiger on his tail

Padraig Harrington blasts from the sand on Saturday as he built a three-shot lead for the final day at Bridgestone.
Padraig Harrington blasts from the sand on Saturday as he built a three-shot lead for the final day at Bridgestone.
Mark Duncan, Associated Press

AKRON, Ohio — Padraig Harrington kept pouring in birdies as he tried to separate himself from everyone else at the Bridgestone Invitational. He arrived at the 18th green with a three-shot lead, happy with his day's work.

Then he glanced at the leaderboard for the first time Saturday.

Suddenly, that lead felt a little smaller.

His closest challenger was Tiger Woods, the world's No. 1 player and close to unbeatable at Firestone.

"I was surprised, yeah. I didn't know he was up there," said Harrington, who make four birdies on the back nine for a 3-under 67. "OK, he's in second place. There he is, 7-under par. There you go, three-shot lead. Is that enough? Probably not. I was trying to put as much room between me and the field. But at the end of the day, there's probably never enough room between you and Tiger.

"I know I have to play well tomorrow if I'm going to win."

Woods made a charge of his own about an hour earlier, running off four birdies over the last six holes, for a 65 that put some life into a dreary afternoon of light rain that slightly softened Firestone.

He has never finished worse than fifth on this track, and Woods has won six times in 10 appearances, three times when trailing.

Of his 69 victories on the PGA Tour, however, Woods has only won five times when trailing by three shots or more after 54 holes. Two of those came this year, a five-shot deficit at Bay Hill and a four-shot deficit at the Memorial.

But the players he was chasing were not Harrington, a three-time major champion and the last man to beat Woods worldwide when he was atop the leaderboard going into the final round.

And while Harrington conceded that Woods chasing him changes the dynamics, the Irishman usually is up to the task.

"I realize I'm going to have a difficult day, that's for sure," said Harrington, who was at 10-under 200. "This golf course has obviously been very good for Tiger ... so I don't think anything is going to be easy tomorrow. Probably at best, it's going to be a long, hard day and a battle. That's what I'm going to prepare myself for."

Jerry Kelly had a 69 and was five shots behind. Tim Clark, who had a one-shot lead early in the third round, also was five shots behind until he called a two-stroke penalty on himself for not replacing his ball mark on the 16th hole. He wound up with a 73, leaving him at 3 under.

Woods was happy to just have a chance.

He missed a short par putt on the eighth hole and fell six shots behind, with no indication Harrington would back up.

"I figured if I could put half a dent in that, I'd be all right," Woods said. "At least I'm there with a shot at it."

It could be a two-man show, and quite an opening act for the PGA Championship next week at Hazeltine.

LEGENDS RENO-TAHOE OPEN: At Reno, Nev., John Rollins doubled his lead, shooting a 5-under 67 to move four strokes ahead of Ryan Palmer.

Rollins, who tied the course record with a 62 on Friday, had three birdies and three bogeys on the front nine, then rolled in a 30-foot eagle putt on the par-5 11th and added two birdies to finish at 17-under 199 at Montreux Golf & Country Club.

Palmer started the day five strokes off the lead, but birdied three of the first four holes and shot a 66 to reach 13 under.

Joe Ogilvie was another stroke back after a bogey-free 66 that included an eagle and four birdies. Martin Laird (66) was 11 under. He finished birdie-birdie-birdie-eagle, holing a 77-yard approach to the par-4 18th that spun back 20 feet.

U.S. WOMEN'S AMATEUR: At St. Louis, Jennifer Song moved within a victory of becoming the second woman to win two U.S. Golf Association championships in the same year, beating Tiffany Lua 3 and 2 in the semifinals.