Gary Woodland has been here before. “Here” being in contention going into the final round of the CIMB Championship.
In 2013 Woodland lost in a playoff to Ryan Moore. In 2014 Woodland again finished second to Moore, this time by three shots in regulation.
This time Woodland shares the 54-hole lead with Marc Leishman and Shubhankar Sharma. They had a two-stroke lead over Louis Oosthuizen and first-round leader Bronson Burgoon.
The good news for Woodland – Moore, at 1 under, is 18 shots out of the lead. The bad news – this is Woodland’s sixth 54-hole lead or co-lead in stroke-play event on the PGA Tour, and he did not go on to win any of the previous five. (He did convert a 54-hole lead at the 2013 Barracuda, which was a modified Stableford event.)
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Closing has not been Woodland’s strong suit: Since 2013, this is the ninth time he has been at or within one shot of the lead entering the final round. He did not win any of previous eight instances, compiling a 72.5 final-round scoring average.
Still, Woodland remains confident. His play this week has been stellar. After an opening 69, he equaled the course record of 61 in Round 2. In the third round, he birdied the final hole for a 67 that pulled him into a share of the lead.
“I love this golf course,” he said of TPC Kuala Lumpur. “I love coming here, the people are great, food’s great, the golf course is phenomenal. They’ve done a phenomenal job with the redo. It’s in as good of shape as I’ve ever seen. Sets up for a great day tomorrow and hopefully we can go out and have a good round, see what happens.”