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Woods’ Birdie String Ties Lehman For Mercedes Lead

Compiled From Wire Services

Tiger Woods birdied the final four holes and then watched Tom Lehman make a birdie of his own on No. 18 as the best rookie and best player of 1996 finished 54 holes of the Mercedes Championship five strokes ahead of anyone else.

Woods overpowered the La Costa Resort and Spa at Carlsbad, Calif., for a 65 on Saturday and Lehman salvaged a shaky start with a 69 as they finished three rounds at 14-under-par 202.

Guy Boros at 207 and Paul Goydos and Fred Couples at 208 could only hope for an unlikely collapse by the two guys named rookie of the year and player of the year by their peers at Friday night’s PGA Tour awards dinner.

“I may be the player of the year,” Lehman said, “But he’s the player of the next two decades.”

Playing partners Karrie Webb and Annika Sorenstam dueled to a draw, so the LPGA Tournament of Champions will pair them up again today.

Friends as well as foes, Webb and Sorenstam exchanged the lead four times before finishing the third round tied at 10-under-par 206 at Weston, Fla.

Barb Mucha was in third place at 9 under.

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Tags: briefly, golf

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