Woods aims to shut out Mickelson in Shanghai duel
Shanghai: Tiger Woods is hoping to inhabit a world of his own as he tries to make up two shots on tournament leader Phil Mickelson in Sunday’s final round showdown between the top two in the world at the WGC-HSBC Champions.
The pair of golfing titans will be joined for the fourth round at the Sheshan International by compatriot Nick Watney, who shares second with Woods.
Woods and Mickelson were paired for the final round at the U.S. Masters this year but they were seven shots off the pace and Sunday will be a rare head-to-head in the leading group.
“You just go play, no matter who is out in front, whether it’s Phil or someone else,” world number one Woods told reporters.
“You want to win a tournament, you have to go out there and play and execute. You get into your own little world and try and do the best you possibly can, and hopefully you can come out on top.”
Mickelson beat the 14-times major winner to win the title when they played together in the final round at the Deutsche Bank Championship in 2007 and Woods faces an uphill task to rein in his rival in what could be wet conditions on Sunday.
“Unfortunately I’m two back. Nick and I have got a chance tomorrow, and we are going to have to go out there and obviously play well,” said Woods, runner up in his two previous visits to Shanghai.
“A lot depends on what weather comes in, if it is going to rain or not, and that’s one of those adjustment things, that you play it by ear.”
Watney, who led after the first round and shared the lead with Woods after the second, lost out in a final-round duel with Mickelson at another WGC event, the CA Championship, in March.
“I suppose I’m kind of the odd man out there,” said Watney, 28.
“But the goal in golf is always to improve and tomorrow will be a big step for me. Regardless of the outcome I’ll get the chance to watch these guys and see how they handle themselves.”
Watney also shot a 70 on Saturday, holing a 45-foot eagle putt at the last after 18 holes playing with Woods, always a challenging experience in front of the galleries in Shanghai. “Obviously there is the crowds and the cameras and everything to deal with but he does have his own mystique about him,” said the Californian.
“But I really enjoyed it. He is the best player in the world and it is not every day that you can say you did something with the best in the world, so I was excited about today and I am even more excited about tomorrow.”
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