Signed, Sealed, Delivered

January 24, 2012

ATLANTA — You don't need a tracking number to see where the FedEx Cup is going.

After Geoff Ogilvy tied the course record of 62, Zach Johnson broke it with a 60, and 47-year-old Mark Calcavecchia defied his age and waistline with a third-round 63 to briefly catch Tiger Woods, the world No. 1 reeled off three late birdies for a 64 to keep his three-shot lead after 54 holes.

"If I'd have gone out and shot even par today," Woods said, "the whole field would have had a chance going into Sunday."

It was a day of fireworks in the third round of the Tour Championship at East Lake, but when it was over one thing remained the same: Woods, the consummate front-runner, still had the lead, by three over Calcavecchia, five over Sergio Garcia (64 on Saturday) and six over Johnson.

"The main thing is the greens aren't nearly, even remotely, as out of shape as they were made out to be early on in the week," Johnson said.

He was hardly the only beneficiary, but at 19-under Woods stood alone among those with a chance to take the $10 million first prize in the FedEx Cup. Rory Sabbatini was his closest pursuer at 7-under, 12 shots behind.

"The greens are soft, the pins are pretty easy," said Woods, who has gone 64-63-64 over the first three days. "You're firing at every flag, 5-iron, 6-iron, you're taking a run at it."

Johnson made eight birdies and an eagle against no bogeys. The shot of the day was either his 223-yard 2-iron to within 17 feet for eagle on 15, or his 201-yard 4-iron out of a fairway bunker on 17 that ended up five feet, six inches from the cup. He made both putts. Needing one more birdie on 18 for a 59, Johnson hung a 2-iron out to the right and into a greenside bunker.

"He said after he hit the shot on 18 that he was a little nervous," said Johnson's caddie, Damon Green. "It was the perfect club, he just had to smash it. We thought the wind would take it a bit. I guess he was happy to get it up in the air."

Johnson's bunker shot for 59 rolled by the right side of the hole ("He said he misread it; said it was my fault," Green quipped), and the pride of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, made his two-foot par putt for a 60.

"I was shaking," Johnson said of his final putt, which he called the most difficult of the day. "I don't know how I took a backstroke. I about chunked it, but it got there."

While Johnson and others were enjoying a birdie barrage in front of him, Woods was strangely quiet on the front nine. He shot a 2-under 33, only one better than the field average Saturday and five shots higher than his 28 on Friday. He was at 15-under for the tournament.

Meanwhile Calcavecchia, playing in the group ahead, was firing a 4-under 31 to get to 13-under and give the tournament at least a modicum of suspense.

"I played great today, better than the first two days, and continue to putt well," he said. "I hit a lot of good iron shots, especially on the front nine."

He birdied 10 to get within a shot of Woods, who responded with a birdie of his own on the par-3 11th to push the lead back to two.

Calcavecchia made his sixth birdie of the day on the par-4 12th. Woods answered again, pushing the lead back to two with another birdie on 14 to get to 17-under. Calcavecchia responded with an eagle 3 to tie Woods at 17-under on the 495-yard, par-5 15th hole.

Woods, watching from the 15th fairway, smiled. He'd been caught.

"Really the first 15 holes I played great," Calcavecchia continued. "Got a little sloppy at the end, but hung in there."

After dumping his second shot into the fairway bunker on 15, Woods got up and down for a birdie to reclaim the lead at 18-under. He birdied 16 to get to 19-under, which amounted to a two-shot swing after Calcavecchia had yanked his drive left and bogeyed the hole. Woods's lead was back to three.

After all the excitement, nothing had changed.

"It'll be fun," Calcavecchia said of the prospect of playing with Woods on Sunday. "I guess I'm three back. So I've got to beat him by four tomorrow. Not likely. It could be a race for second."

In more ways than one.