Johnson keeps Tiger honest

US Tour

Tiger Woods maintained his two-shot lead at the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge, but Zach Johnson is ready to pounce if the world number one slips up in the final round.

Having carded a brilliant 10-under-par 62 in the second round to move to the top of the leaderboard in California, Woods survived a tough day at the office that saw him produce a level-par 72 in the third round for a total of 11-under-par 205.

With Johnson keeping up the pressure throughout the day, Woods needed birdies at two of the final three holes to keep give himself some space ahead of Sunday’s finale.

He birdied the par-five second hole, but with conditions causing havoc at Sherwood Country Club he dropped shots at four and eight before salvaging things late in the day.

“I’m pleased at having the lead – not real pleased with the way I putted today,” Woods said. “I left a few out there today.”

He added: “(Winning on Sunday) it would be special not just for myself but for the foundation and everyone who’s involved with us and what we’re trying to do.”

Johnson made sure he kept the pressure on Woods as he also finished the day with a level par, which was one shot better than the average score of 73.

“Zach’s not going anywhere,” Woods said. “He’s consistent, he’s tough and he’s proven that he can win major championships.”

Bubba Watson is another two shots off the pace after carding a two-over-par 74 while he is followed by Matt Kuchar at four under.

“This golf course is very difficult,” Watson said.

“Right now, there’s a pretty good player leading. He’s won here before. He knows this golf course pretty well. But I’m just going to come out there and play. I’ve shot under par my last few rounds. I want to keep doing that. If I can shoot in the 60s, give myself a chance, we’ll see what happens.”

World number six Rory McIlroy shot a four-under-par 68 that left him at 13 shots off the pace.

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