Soggy course fails to hold back Woods

By Charles I. Robinson
STAR STAFF
crobinson@starhq.com

   AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The Tiger wants to be king of the jungle once again at the Masters. With all the mud and sloppy conditions that permeated Augusta National on Saturday, the course was a jungle in itself.
   Woods' birdie putt on the final hole of a drawn-out day gave him a 6-under 66, tying Retief Goosen atop the leaderboard.
   "My goal starting out this afternoon was to get into double digits," Woods said of his 11-under par total, which erased a six-stroke deficit to second-round leader Vijay Singh. "I got there. I really wanted to get into that final group."
   Goosen, possibly the best player in golf since winning the U.S. Open in a playoff last summer at Southern Hills, had a 69 and will be in the final pairing Sunday with Woods.
   "I know I can play under this kind of pressure," Goosen said.
   Singh, who entered the day with a one-shot lead over Goosen, dropped two shots over the final four holes and stands four shots off the pace.
   He said that mud balls might have cost him three shots in his round of 72.
   "The weather situation is unfortunate, but it's out of our control," he said. "Are you going to practice hitting mud balls? No."
   Standing four shots behind the leaders are Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia.
   Woods, who had to wrap up a rain-delayed second round, was forced to play 26 holes on the day.
   He warmed with a pair of birdies and four pars in the first eight holes.
   Goosen birdied the first hole to tie Singh for the lead, then moved ahead by two strokes before a bogey on No. 18 enabled Woods to crawl even.
   "It's going to be tough," Goosen said. "Any final round in a major is difficult. It's going to be difficult for Tiger, as well. He also has to go out there and do his thing. A few other players have also got a chance.
   "It's going to be an exciting day."
   Searching for his first major championship, Mickelson turned in a bogey-free 68 to give himself a chance at the green jacket.
   "If I do get that low round tomorrow, it very well may be good enough," Mickelson said. "With the quality of the leaderboard, with Tiger being up there ... those guys are not going to come back. I'm going to have to go catch them."