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Woods-Kim tie at top sets up classic finale

TIGER Woods and holder Anthony Kim set the stage for some final-day fireworks by sharing the lead after three rounds of the AT&T National at the Congressional Country Club in Maryland on Saturday.

Tournament host Woods and Kim hold a one-stroke lead over Michael Allen and Cameron Beckman, while Jim Furyk and Australia's Rod Pampling are one shot further adrift.

"There's not too many chances you get to play against the best in the world at his golf tournament," said Kim. "I've won this tournament before, and I don't see why I won't have a good opportunity tomorrow."

World No. 1 Woods had a wild round, taking a 3-shot lead on a ninth-hole eagle before falling behind by a stroke with a double-bogey two holes later.

"It was a tough day out there," Woods said. "The wind was all over the place. It was hard to not only figure out the intensity but also the direction.

"It was just one of those things where you had to grind it out and get through it."

Woods shot an even-par 70 and Kim a 68 to enter the final round at 10-under 200.

"As we all know, AK can play, he really can," said Woods. "As time has gone on, we've seen the talent, we've seen him grow as a player, and it's just a matter of time before he starts winning golf tournaments."

The 24-year-old Kim said he was "excited for the opportunity" to be paired with Woods on the final day of the US$6 million event in suburban Washington, D.C.

"I used to practice thinking I was in the final round with Tiger, final putt, had to make a 10-footer to win the golf tournament, he was watching me," said Kim. "And I was probably nine, ten years old when all that was happening.

"It was almost dark, and my dad was yet to pick me up from the golf course."

Allen, searching for his first victory on the PGA Tour in his 337th tournament, shot a 5-under 65, the lowest score of the day amid unseasonably cool conditions.

The 50-year-old said he was delighted to be in the field, let alone in the hunt for the US$1 million first-place cheque.

"It's what I've been trying to do since I was young," the American said. "And so now I'm just happy to be playing a whole lot better as I've gotten older. I'm aging well."


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