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Woods on brink of 11th major victory

Written by: Staff
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HOYLAKE, England, July 23 (Reuters) Title holder Tiger Woods stayed on track for his 11th career major after moving two strokes clear with three holes to play in the British Open final round today.

The 30-year-old American birdied 14 and 15, the latter after hitting a superb approach to 10 feet. That left him at 17 under for the tournament, with compatriot Chris DiMarco alone in second place after 16 holes two behind.

DiMarco had closed to within a stroke of the lead after sinking a 25-foot birdie putt at the short 13th before Woods almost effortlessly stretched ahead, rolling in a five-footer to birdie the 14th.

Ernie Els, the 2002 champion at Muirfield, was alone in third place at 13 under following birdies on 14 and 16.

American Jim Furyk and Hideto Tanihara of Japan were tied on 11-under after 16 and 17 holes respectively.

One ahead of the field at the start of the day, Woods rolled in an 18-foot eagle putt at the fifth to double his lead before benefiting from a bogey by Els at the par-four eighth.

South African Els found a bunker with his second shot there and failed to get up and down to collect his first bogey of the day.

He then parred the next two holes to slip behind playing partner DiMarco into third place.

DiMarco, whose mother died of a suspected heart attack nearly three weeks ago, was mounting the biggest challenge to Woods and did well to sink a 35-footer at the 14th to save par.

Spaniard Sergio Garcia, playing with Woods in the lead pairing, missed short putts to bogey the second and third and also dropped shots at the eighth and ninth to slide to eight under.

He then sandwiched birdies on 12 and 15 around another bogey at the 14th to lie joint sixth at nine under.

Reuters MQA DB2234

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