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Edfors retains Thailand lead

SWEDEN'S Johan Edfors closed with two birdies yesterday to maintain a two-stroke lead after the third round of the Asian Tour's US$500,000 Black Mountain Masters in Hua Hin, Thailand.

Edfors had a one-under 71 for a 13-under-par total of 203 after three rounds, two shots clear of England's Chris Rodgers and Australia's Jason King.

Rodgers had a five-under 67 on Saturday and King carded 69.

India's Anirban Lahiri was a shot further back at 10-under after 67 and was in a share of fourth place with Australia's Chris Gaunt, who had a 66 yesterday.

Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee had a 67 and was four shots off the pace.

Edfors has led since the first round but came under pressure yesterday when he had bogeys on the eighth and 12th holes and a double-bogey at the 11th, where he drove his tee shot into a water hazard.

He regained the outright lead with a 40-foot birdie putt on the 17th.

"It was nice to get it back together and still have the lead," he said. "I'm hitting my driver really good, doing that today as well."

Chapchai Nirat, who had an Asian Tour record 32-under-par victory at the SAIL Open in India last Sunday, three putted from three feet on 18 to settle and finished with a 71 and was eight-under for the tournament.

In Orlando, Florida, world No. 1 Tiger Woods stayed in the hunt for a record sixth victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, carding a one-under 69 at Bay Hill Club in Friday's second round.

Playing only his third event of the year after being sidelined by a knee injury for eight months, Woods mixed three birdies with two bogeys to finish five shots behind pacesetter Sean O'Hair.

American O'Hair, who tied for third at Bay Hill last year after shooting a career-low 63 in the third round, charged three strokes ahead with a sparkling six-birdie 65.

Although O'Hair made his only bogey of the day after driving into rough on his final hole, the par-four ninth, he took control with an eight-under total of 132.

First-round leader Jason Gore of the US returned a 70 to drop back into second place, a stroke in front of Australian Robert Allenby (65) and Ryuji Imada (66).

British Open champion Padraig Harrington, playing with Woods, carded a 68 to vault into a tie for sixth at two-under, six shots behind O'Hair.

The cut fell at five-over 145 with 2007 US Open champion Angel Cabrera of Argentina and Americans Jim Furyk and Davis Love III among those missing out.


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