LEMONT, Ill. - Tiger Woods dropped his 3-wood in disgust after his first tee shot Saturday sailed left into the bunker for another sloppy bogey. Four hours later, he finished off his best round of the year to build a seven-shot lead in the BMW Championship.
Getting better with every shot, Woods broke the course record at Cog Hill with a 9-under 62 and blew away the 68-man field in the third FedEx Cup playoff event.
He also tied the tournament record, set last year by Jim Furyk outside St. Louis at Bellerive.
'After I got past the first hole I was doing all right,' Woods said. 'It was one of those days that kind of built upon itself.'
A course renovated by Rees Jones with hopes of landing a U.S. Open was no match for Woods. He hit his most unheralded shot of the round, a 7-iron that stopped 3 feet away from a dangerous pin at the par-3 sixth, and never came close to missing another green.
The signature shot was his 3-wood from just over 300 yards to 10 feet at the par-5 ninth for an eagle, so pure that the gallery crammed into the bleacher rose to its feet when the ball finally stopped rolling.
Woods was at 16-under 197 and had his largest lead on the PGA Tour since he was eight shots in front in the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines early last year.
He will play in the final pairing today with Brandt Snedeker, who had a 66. Marc Leishman had a 68 and joined Snedeker at 9-under 204, both of them hopeful of finishing high enough to get into the Tour Championship.
More than being his lowest round of the year, Woods was nearly nine shots better than the field, which averaged 70.71.
It will be his first time with the 54-hole lead since the PGA Championship last month at Hazeltine, where Y.E. Yang made up a two-shot deficit and became the first player to beat Woods from behind in a major.
Yang is 25 shots behind at Cog Hill.
Snedeker was worried about keeping his car this summer until his health improved and his game turned around. Now he has a chance to move into the top 30 in the FedEx Cup standings, which would qualify him for all the majors next year.
Winning this week? That's a taller task.
'Looks like Tiger is making it difficult on us,' Snedeker said after closing with four straight birdies. 'I'm playing fantastic. And the best thing is I fought extremely well out there.'
Matt Kuchar improved his Tour Championship hopes with a 66 and was tied for fourth at 205 with Padraig Harrington (69).