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Ace puts Allenby on top; Woods falls two shots back

By TIMES WIRES
Published September 3, 2006


NORTON, Mass. - Robert Allenby made a hole-in-one during a torrid stretch that took him from the middle of the pack to the top of the leaderboard Saturday, then finished 5-under 66 in blustery conditions to catch Justin Rose in the Deutsche Bank Championship.

"Prettiest shot I've ever seen," Paul Azinger said of the ace by Allenby, a 4-iron from 215 yards on the 16th hole.

Allenby had made a 25-foot birdie putt on the 15th, then followed his ace with a 10-foot birdie on the 17th and a 20-footer for birdie on the par-5 18th. He traded two birdies with two bogeys on the front nine and was at 6-under 136.

Rose birdied three of the par 3s on his way to 69.

Tiger Woods, remarkably, is still in the hunt for his fifth straight PGA Tour victory.

After opening with 66 for a one-shot lead, Woods hit into the trees, through the trees and even hit his club against a tree twice on one swing while making an unlikely par. He one-putted six consecutive greens on his back nine - five of them for par - and managed to scratch out 1-over 72 that left him two shots behind.

"I didn't hit it very good," Woods said. "I'm very happy to shoot 72."

Aaron Baddeley also scrambled his way around in wind that averaged about 15 mph, with gusts that peaked at 31 mph, and shot 71 to join Woods and defending champion Olin Browne (69) at 4-under 138.

"It blew from the start, right from the very first hole," Baddeley said of the wind. "There was no advantage to playing in the morning. It was a tough day for patience."

On the fourth hole, Woods pulled a tee shot into the trees, the ball stopping in front of a large oak. Woods hit the trunk with his back swing, hit the ball and dropped the club when the shaft hit the tree on his follow-through.

"It freaked me out because I didn't think I was going to hit the tree on the back swing," Woods said. "And then when I hit it (on the follow-through), it felt like my elbow bent around the tree. That didn't feel very good. But at least I had a good lie on my third shot."

LPGA: Maria Hjorth closed in on her first tour victory in seven years, Cristie Kerr had one bad hole and Annika Sorenstam remained on the fringe of contention at the State Farm Classic in Springfield, Ill.

Hjorth shot 2-under 70 and was at 14-under 202 after the third round, one stroke ahead of Seon-Hwa Lee (69) and Il Mi Chung (70).

"As soon as you go out there and trust yourself, that's when the results are going to come," Hjorth said.

Tied for the lead with Hjorth when the day began, Kerr triple-bogeyed the par-3 seventh hole and shot even 72 to fall into a tie for fourth at 12 under with veteran Nancy Scranton, who fired a career-low 63.

Sorenstam (69), who was six back when the round began, seemed on the verge of falling out of contention before two late birdies put her at 9 under.

"Everyday, I've left shots out there," Sorenstam said. "There's no doubt. I missed a few putts today. I hit some beautiful shots early on. I just didn't make anything. That's just the way it's been all week. ... It would have been nice to make a move, there's no doubt about it."

Brittany Lincicome of Seminole moved into a tie for 13th place after shooting 4-under 68 for the second straight day, putting her 8-under 208 overall, one stroke behind Lorena Ochoa and Sorenstam.

Jennifer Gleason of Clearwater shot 1-over and was tied for 51st place at 1-under 215.

EUROPEAN PGA: Defending champion David Howell shot 6-under 66 despite bogey on the last hole to lead the BMW International Open by two strokes after three rounds in Munich, Germany.

"There is still a lot of work to be done," Howell said.

Howell, a member of this year's European Ryder Cup team, was 14-under 202. He was followed at 204 by Padraig Harrington (64) and Colin Montgomerie (66), his Ryder Cup teammates, and second-round leader Martin Erlandsson (69).

Montgomerie's 66 included a chip-in at the ninth.

"I'd like to win for my confidence going into the Ryder Cup," Montgomerie said. "Whatever happens, I've got my game back in shape. I'm putting much better."