Tiger Loses Lead— and Club— Down Under

3-shot lead dwindles to 3-way tie for frustrated Woods
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 14, 2009 6:45 AM CST
Tiger Woods has his club handed back by spectators on the 14th hole during the third round of the Australian Masters golf tournament in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009.   (AP Photo/Andrew Brownbill)
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(Newser) – In the 268 official tournaments that Tiger Woods has played around the world as a pro, he has never gone three consecutive tournaments without winning when he held at least a share of the 36-hole lead. That streak is in jeopardy at the Australian Masters, where Woods held a three-shot lead today until stumbling to an even-par 72 in the third round to fall into a three-way tie with the Australian duo of Greg Chalmers and James Nitties.

At least he was still in contention. "I played myself into a tie for the lead, and I could have easily played myself straight out of the tournament," Woods say. "But I hung in there and turned it around. That's a huge positive." The low point came at the 13th hole, where he was so angry with a series of poor shots that he slammed his driver into the ground and it bounced up and into the gallery. A surprised fan caught the club and returned it to him. "That was my mistake," Woods said. "I got hot after a bad tee shot and let go of the club." The reaction will be far worse if he fails to win the Australian Masters, tied with two players who are not among the elite in golf.