Calcavecchia eyes second place behind good friend Woods

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ATLANTA, Sep 15 (Reuters) Mark Calcavecchia briefly held a share of the lead with Tiger Woods at the Tour Championship but accepts he is likely to be competing for second place in the final round.

Calcavecchia fired a seven-under-par 63 yesterday in a low scoring third round at East Lake Golf Club and is looking forward to playing with good friend Woods in the last pairing on Sunday.

World number one Woods holds a three-shot lead at 19-under 191 with fellow American Calcavecchia alone in second place in the final event of the FedExCup playoff series.

''I'm three back, so I've got to beat him by four tomorrow,'' Calcavecchia told reporters. ''Not likely. It could be a race for second.

''Either way, the way he's playing is just phenomenal as we all know and I'm playing good, too, so I'm going to have fun with it.

''We're friends and I'll make as many birdies as I can, just play the holes and, hopefully, shoot a good score and you never know.'' Calcavecchia, at 47 the oldest player in the 30-strong field at East Lake, first met Woods when they both employed Butch Harmon as a swing coach.

''He was working with Butch in the U.S. juniors at age 16, or whatever it was, and I'd run into him in Vegas or Houston at that time,'' Calcavecchia recalled.

SLOW PLAYERS ''We began playing practice rounds together. We both like getting up at the crack of dawn and teeing off in the dark to beat the crowds and the other slow players. That's kind of how we became friends.'' Calcavecchia, British Open champion in 1989, tied Woods for the lead at 17 under par after rolling in a 17-foot eagle putt at the par-five 15th.

However, he slipped back with a bogey at the par-four 16th, where he pulled his tee shot left, before parring the last two holes.

''The first 15 holes I played great, got a little sloppy at the end but hung in there,'' he said. ''If I play like I did today, I'll have a lot of fun tomorrow, even if it's not enough.

''Tiger will probably keep me relaxed to some degree, but I don't see him shooting worse than 65 tomorrow. But you never know.'' Woods, who has won 40 times out of 43 when holding at least a share of the 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour, is also looking forward to Calcavecchia's company on Sunday.

''It's going to be fun,'' the world number one said. ''We're going to have a great time and, hopefully, we'll go out there tomorrow, make a bunch of birdies and shoot some good scores.

''We've played a bunch of practice rounds, we just haven't really played competitive rounds together that often.'' Reuters SZ VP0605

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