AKRON, Ohio — Stewart Cink kept plugging away with a few clutch pars and enough birdies that he figured would keep him close to the lead. The surprise came when he glanced at a scoreboard and saw whom he was chasing Saturday in the Bridgestone Invitational.
It wasn't Tiger Woods.
Before long, it wasn't even Davis Love III.
Cink was steady as Woods and Love took turns stumbling on Firestone South, shooting a 6-under 64 to take a one-shot lead over Woods, Love and Paul Casey of England in a World Golf Championship that quickly turned into a free-for-all.
"I was a little surprised because it's Tiger Woods and the way he's playing lately," Cink said. "But the way the course is, even the great Tiger Woods can make some bogeys out there."
Did he ever.
Woods made four straight bogeys — his longest such streak on the PGA Tour in nearly 10 years — and went from a two-shot lead to five shots behind in a span of six holes. He managed a smile at the end of the third round because Love also let everyone back into the tournament by losing a three-shot lead.
"I was lucky to keep myself in the ballgame," Woods said. "Davis had a chance to run away, but the lead is 9 [under] and I'm only one back. So it's a big positive."
Love took advantage of Woods' collapse by running off three straight birdies around the turn to build a three-shot lead, but he gave them all back over the final seven holes, including a 3-foot par putt he missed on the 16th. He wound up with a 70.
Woods settled down on the back nine and picked up two birdies for a 1-over 71, ending his streak of 11 consecutive rounds in the 60s and 17 consecutive subpar rounds. All that mattered was being only one shot behind, especially after trailing Love by five shots with eight holes to play in the third round.
Seattle native Fred Couples fired a 71, moving to 5-over 215.
Wadkins, Nielsen share Tradition lead
ALOHA, Ore. — Lonnie Nielsen retired from the PGA Tour in 1983 to become a club professional in upstate New York. Twenty-three years later, he has put himself in position to win his first tournament.
Nielsen and Bobby Wadkins shared a one-stroke lead going into today's final round of The Tradition, the season's final major on the Champions Tour.
Nielsen shot a 68 for an 11-under 205 after the first three rounds on the par-72, 7,150-yard course at the Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club west of Portland.
"I always felt that I was a better player than I showed my last time around," he said. "To get a second chance at a career is just unbelievable, especially 20 years later."
Wadkins missed a 6-foot par putt on the 18th to drop a stroke and finish with a 71, and Nielsen made a 5-foot par putt on the final hole to grab a share of the lead.
Defending champion Loren Roberts had a 68, and will go into the final round at 10 under. Tom Jenkins and Tom Kite each had 70s and were three strokes off the lead.
• Lorena Ochoa came within a shot of matching the course record, firing an 8-under 64 to take a two-stroke lead heading into the final round of the Wendy's Championship for Children in Dublin, Ohio.
Ochoa, trying to win for the third time this year, stands at 17-under 199 heading into the final round. Jee Young Lee shot a 68 and was at 201, with Stacy Prammanasudh and Ai Miyazato another two shots back.
• Bob Estes shot a 68 to tie Will MacKenzie heading into the final round of the Reno-Tahoe Open in Nevada. MacKenzie, who shot his second straight 67 to get to 19-under 197, is still looking for his first Tour victory.
John Cook shot a 69 to get to third place at 15 under. Pullman High graduate Kirk Triplett was 6 under after firing a 67.
• Richie Ramsay overcame his second penalty in two days to hold off Webb Simpson in the semifinals of the U.S. Amateur at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn.
John Kelly earned a 2-and-1 victory over Ryan Yip of Canada.
By advancing to today's finals, Kelly and Ramsay earned an invitation to the U.S. Open and the Masters.
• The PGA Tour is offering the Reno-Tahoe Open a four-year contract extension that would keep the tournament running at least through 2010.
• Yusaku Miyazato's two holes-in-one at the Reno-Tahoe Open on Friday may not have been the only time a player has carded a pair of aces in the same round in PGA Tour history.
Tour officials said on Friday the feat was the first in modern history, which they count as post-1970.
But Bruce Berlet of the Hartford Courant said amateur W.W. 'Bill' Whedon accomplished the feat with aces on Nos. 5 and 9 during Round 1 of the 1955 Insurance City Open in Wethersfield, Conn.