Scott takes back sole Firestone lead

Adam Scott is on track to win his first World Golf Championship event wire-to-wire here at the Firestone Country Club.

Adam Scott is on track to win his first World Golf Championship event wire-to-wire after leading the Bridgestone Invitational at the Firestone Country Club’s South Course in Akron, Ohio for the third day running.

On Thursday the Australian stormed into the first round lead with a blistering 62.

On Friday he posted a not so hot level par 70 and allowed some of the front runners in the chasing pack to catch and match him at 8-under, namely Americans Rickie Fowler, Ryan Moore and the lanky Tour rookie Keegan Bradley.

And on moving Saturday, almost certainly urged on by Tiger Woods’s ex-caddy Steve Williams, he took back the sole lead with a four under-par 66 that took him one stroke ahead of the chasing pack with a 12 under 198 total.

Snapping at his heels, one shot back at 11-under in this prestigious event that pays out the same kind of money as the majors and draws a field every bit as strong as they do, are his highly talented Aussie compatriot Jason Day who tied with him for second in the Masters in April, and Japan’s teenage terror Ryo Ishikawa, who roared into contention on Saturday with an eyebrow-raising 64.

Ishikawa, already a national celebrity who has won 10 times in his native Japan, has failed to set the US alight in his previous tilts at American titles, but he is clearly hoping to do so this time.

Two shots off the pace at 10-under and still very much in the hunt on a crowded leaderboard is Scotland’s top golfer at present, Martin Laird, who shot a third round 67 to be tied for 4th with lanky American rookie Keegan Bradley.

And a further shot back and looking very capable or still winning here is the cool and competent Luke Donald who brought his A game to Firestone on Saturday and like Ishikawa, stormed up the leaderboard with a 6-under 64.

At 9-under, Donald is tied with Swede Fredrik Jacobson and the colourful American prospect Ricky Fowler.

Only joint 21st at the halfway stage, the World Number One came out with all guns blazing on moving Saturday and promptly proceeded to birdie the first, second, fourth and eighth.

He picked up another shot at the 12th and with his game on fire, birdied the 16th and 17th to go to seven under for his round and into joint first place at 10 under.

But then, inexplicably he lost some of his iron control and bogeyed the 18th to finish his round with a 6-under 64 and by the end of the day Donald at 9-under was down to joint 4th with joint second round leader Rickie Fowler.

They in turn were a shot clear of Zach Johnson, who like Donald had shot a 64.

And on a day when some of the cream of the new guard that has been establishing itself this year came to the top, Rory McIlroy, the recently crowned US Open champion, was a shot further back at 7-under after posting a 67.

The Northern Irishman could finish the day half a dozen or so shots off the pace, but with his uncanny ability to go seriously low, it might not pay to write him off.

And Tiger Woods, a seven time winner here?

You can certainly write him off.

He added another disappointing 72 to the 68 and 71 he had posted in the first two rounds and at 1-over, he was tied for 38th and looking like someone who hasn’t played any competitive golf in nearly four months.

Mind you, Phil Mickelson, at No 6 the highest-ranked American on the World Ranking list, has played plenty of golf in the past few months and he was tied with Woods at 1-over after shooting a one-over 71.

Martin Kaymer, who next week will defend his US PGA title in the final major of the year, was a shot worse off, having posted a third-round 73.

Woods, whose previous tour event was the Players Championship in May, recorded four bogeys and two birdies to end the third round 12 strokes off the early lead on a day of frustration summed up by a missed three-foot par putt at the last.

“I didn’t putt well again today,” the former world No 1 conceded. “I had two horseshoes, three-putted 18 and then made a bogey with a sand wedge on 16. That’s four shots right there I just threw away.

“But the iron game was back. I started getting a feel in my hands and just about every iron shot was on my number, which was nice.

“I’m still struggling a little bit with my set-up on the tee. I don’t curve the ball as much any more so I’ve just got to get more committed to that.”