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Appleby grabs two-shot lead at AT&T

After a tough day putting in a round of 73 on Thursday, Woods weighted down his putting with lead tape and rebounded with a 66 on Friday. On Saturday, the putter was on the tantalizing verge of brilliance: A 6-footer lipped out at No. 3, an 11-footer at No. 4 died right on the edge, and an 18-footer at No. 15 had Woods swearing out loud after it skirted the hole.

Woods' frustration showed again at the 18th, when he had his only bogey of the day. He made two angry swipes with his club after driving his tee shot into the left rough. His only birdies came at Nos. 1 and 16 — and the 20-footer at the first hole was his longest made putt of the day.

"He played fantastic tee-to-green and really seemed to putt well — and holed nothing," said Woods' playing partner, Kevin Stadler, who also shot a 69 and had a hole-in-one at the par-3 13th. "I'm sure he'll be excited looking forward to tomorrow because if he had another inch it would have been 62, 63, or 64."

Appleby had a tournament-low two bogeys after his first 36 holes, but he was more erratic Saturday. For every breathtaking iron shot — such as the approach to 5 feet at No. 3 — there was a hole such as No. 12, when he found the rough with his tee shot and three-putted for a bogey. There were also the par saves, which included the nervy 10-foot putt at the 18th that kept his two-shot lead.

"It was a demanding golf course today," Appleby said. "There was a little bit more respect to be had, watching for the balls to be bouncing off the fairways and running with the contours a little bit more."

Then, at the 16th tee box, Appleby discovered a barely visible hairline fracture in his driver. A rules official declared the club was not "substantially unfit" and therefore could remain in Appleby's bag — which is a good thing for him because he likes the way it is striking the ball. Besides, he didn't bring a backup driver to this tournament.

"I could have 50 more shots in it. I could have one," Appleby said. "Probably makes better sense to probably see if I can rustle one up."

Divots: Shigeki Maruyama shot a 65, the best round of the tournament so far. He is 3 under for the tournament, six shots off the lead. ... Appleby is the only player to shoot under par in each of the first three rounds. ... Woods' biggest final-round comeback was at Pebble Beach in 2000, when he won after trailing by five strokes at the end of 54 holes.

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