Sports Outside the Beltway

Tiger Takes U.S. Open Lead with Amazing Close

Tiger Woods shot two eagles in the final six holes to take the lead in the 2008 U.S. Open.

Tiger Woods Eagles 13th Hole U.S. Open Tiger Woods celebrates after making an eagle on the 13th hole during the third round of the US Open championship at Torrey Pines Golf Course on Saturday, June 14, 2008 in San Diego. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Tiger Woods delivered a performance worthy of prime time Saturday in the U.S. Open. He kept an East Coast television audience and a sellout crowd at Torrey Pines in suspense when his left knee buckled and he nearly dropped to the ground from the sheer pain, limping along with his club as a cane. The drama came on the last six holes, when he turned a five-shot deficit into a one-shot lead.

And the amazing array of shots that put him atop the leaderboard? Pure science-fiction.

“The stuff he does, it’s unreal,” said Rocco Mediate, who watched it all unfold from the group behind.

First came Woods’ 70-foot eagle putt on the 13th to get back in the game. Then it was a chip that he struck too hard, only to bow his head and laugh when it one-hopped into the hole for birdie on the 17th. Woods ended one of his most exciting rounds in a major with a 30-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole for a 1-under 70 and a one-shot lead over Lee Westwood.

It was pure theater at Torrey Pines, leaving 50,000 fans and even his competitors wondering what hit them.

“It’s just the most amazing display of athletic, mental power that there is, there ever was,” said Mediate, who had a three-shot lead early on the back nine until a four-hole meltdown. “Look at him. He hasn’t played in 10 weeks. There’s no surprise to me, but he hasn’t played for 10 weeks! And he comes here. So I’m not surprised. I can’t wait to see what happens tomorrow.”

Simply amazing.

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