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Thomas rises, Woods slides at Bridgestone

The Associated PressAKRON, Ohio (AP) — Justin Thomas pulled away from a crowd with five birdies in the middle of his round for a 3-under 67 and a three-shot lead going into the final round of the Bridgestone Invitational as he goes after his third victory this season on the PGA Tour.

No one could keep pace with Thomas, least of all Tiger Woods.

Starting the third round Saturday five shots behind, Woods didn’t make a birdie until a 12-foot putt on the 12th hole, and he didn’t make another.

He wound up with a 73, leaving him 11 shots back and ending his streak of 10 straight rounds at par or better dating to the U.S. Open.

“It was very similar to the first day,” Woods said. “Wasn’t very sharp that first day, but I made everything. So today was about the same, and I didn’t make anything.”

That wasn’t a problem for Thomas, whose six birdies included a chip-in from 30 feet behind the green on the par-3 12th.

He was at 14-under 196, three shots clear of Rory McIlroy (67) and Ian Poulter (70).

Thomas fell behind early with two bogeys in three holes, and a 10-foot par save in between from behind the fourth green kept him from falling further behind.

Poulter set the pace early and had a three-shot lead at one point until he dropped his shot from the bunker on the par-3 seventh, and then had a mixed bag of birdies and bogeys that kept him from getting closer to the lead.

McIlroy played bogey-free and Jason Day had a 69 and was four shots behind.

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