Kim takes four-stroke lead after third round

Charlotte, May 4:

Anthony Kim fired a bogey-free six-under 66 on Saturday to take a four-stroke lead over Heath Slocum and Jason Bohn after the third round of the Wachovia Championship.

American Kim sank a seven-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to stand on 13-under par 203 after 54 holes at the $6.4 million event, with compatriots Slocum and Bohn on 207.

“I’m so excited, I don’t really know what to say right now,” Kim, a 22-year-old Californian of Korean heritage, said after he drained a seven-foot birdie putt at the last hole. Kim said he thought he was up to the challenge of defending the lead in the final group.

Two more Americans, Stewart Cink and Dudley Hart, shared fourth on 208, with US veteran Jim Furyk and fellow US Open winner Geoff Ogilvy of Australia on 209 and Fiji’s Viji Singh joining Americans Fred Couples and Pat Perez on 210. Australian Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson were on 211.

Kim opened and closed the front nine with birdies and added two more at the par-5 fifth and seventh holes to seize command before dropping birdies at the 14th and closing holes. Kim’s performance earned praise from playing partner Bohn. “I played with someone who played extraordinarily good, almost Tiger-esque,” said Bohn.

Bohn took bogeys at the second and fourth holes, answering each time with a birdie on the very next hole. He made a bogey at seven and followed with 10 pars and a birdie at the 15th to finish level par for the day, capping his round with a chip-in for par from 35 feet at the 18th.

Slocum birdied the third and seventh and had a whirlwind back nine with a birdie at 12, a bogey at 13, a birdie at 14, an eagle at 15 and a bogey at the 16th before closing with two pars.