Johnson steadies after near disaster
DUSTIN Johnson will defend a four-shot lead in the final round of the WGC-Mexico Championship after he overcame tree trouble on moving day to increase his overnight advantage.
The American world No.3 almost threw away his big lead on the par-4 10th hole when he hit the trees three times on his way to a double bogey.
Johnson responded with back-to-back birdies and signed for a five-under 66, which included an eagle two at the second hole, to be 16-under 197 after the third round at Chapultepec Golf Club.
A winner of this event two years ago, Johnson is aiming for his 20th career PGA Tour victory and sixth WGC triumph.
His closest challenger is Rory McIlroy, who got no closer than two shots of Johnson and had to settle for a three-under 68.
The Northern Irishman's up-and-down day included seven birdies and four bogeys.
A three-under 68 took Australian Cameron Smith to nine under and tied for third.
The Queenslander had two birdies on each nine and made bogey on the par-4 eighth.
He is in a group of four with Spain's Sergio Garcia (69) and Americans Patrick Reed (64) and Patrick Cantlay (65).
Tiger Woods is another shot back, 10 strokes behind Johnson heading into the final round despite needing seven putts to close out just two holes during his third round.
The 14-times major champion shot a respectable one-under-par 70 despite his putting going badly awry during the third round.
The American sent murmurs of disbelief through the packed gallery when he four-putted at the 15th hole.
It took him three attempts to get the ball into the hole on the 16th green and the PGA Tour confirmed that it was the first time he had put together such a poor display of putting on consecutive holes.
Woods had played 22,640 holes on the PGA Tour when he approached the 15th, where everything looked in order as he coaxed a birdie putt up to inside four feet.
His par putt lipped out, however, and trickled two feet away from the cup.
Without marking his ball, Woods stroked his third putt, which also lipped out, and he walked off with a double-bogey.
His three-putt at the next, where he missed a five-footer, was not quite as dramatic but hardly less disappointing for one of the greatest talents to have played the game.