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Toms drops back into tie for lead at Honda Classic

Written by: Staff

MIAMI, Mar 11 (Reuters) Overnight pace-setter David Toms slipped back into a share of the lead midway through the Honda Classic third round at Palm Beach Gardens, Florida today.

The world number eight mixed three bogeys with two birdies to reach the turn at one-over-par 37 on another warm and blustery day at the Country Club at Mirasol.

That left him at nine under for the tournament, level with fellow American Billy Mayfair and Australia's Geoff Ogilvy.

Mayfair, whose last PGA Tour victory came at the 1998 Buick Open, was level-par for the day.

Ogilvy, surprise winner of last month's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at La Costa, was three under for the day after a run of four birdies in five holes from the par-four fourth.

Toms, one ahead of the chasing pack at the start, initially surrendered the lead with a bogey-five at the second hole on the Sunrise Course.

Although he briefly regained it by rolling in a six-foot birdie putt at the par-five fifth, he stumbled again when he dropped another shot at the long sixth.

CAT AND MOUSE Mayfair, who also bogeyed the par-five sixth, caught Toms at nine under by holing a curling eight-footer for birdie at the par-four seventh.

The cat-and-mouse exchange between the pair continued when Toms struck a superb approach to four feet at the par-three eighth, setting up another birdie to restore his one-stroke cushion.

Toms was then unfortunate to bogey the par-four ninth. He struck what appeared to be a near-perfect approach but his ball rolled off the back of the hump-backed green from where he was unable to get up and down to save par.

Ireland's Padraig Harrington, who clinched last year's title in a playoff with Vijay Singh and Joe Ogilvie, was struggling at three under overall after registering successive double-bogeys on seven and eight.

Australia's Mathew Goggin, 12 strokes off the pace overnight, birdied four of the last seven holes for a sparkling seven-under-par 65.

That left him in a share of the clubhouse lead with American Pat Perez (68) at five-under 211, four off the pace.

Reuters OM VP0156

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