SAN FRANCISCO – John Daly relied on the long ball to get back into contention, then to take the lead away from Colin Montgomerie on Saturday in an American Express Championship that kept a chilled gallery in suspense.

Daly hit a 378-yard drive that set up an eagle on the par-5 10th, ripped a 292-yard drive into the stiff wind for a chip-and-putt birdie on the par-4 16th, and finished with a 3-under 67 on the Harding Park course for a one-shot lead over Montgomerie.

Tiger Woods somehow finished two shots behind.

His scorecard showed a 68, but didn’t include sketches of where some of his shots landed – one of them under an SUV parked in the woods, another that went off the cart path, over a 25-foot hospitality tent and was headed for the parking lot until it grazed someone’s leg and stopped on the stairs.

Daly, who started with a bogey and a double bogey on his first three holes, was at 9-under 201 and poised to capture his first victory in 19 months.

Montgomerie, who only last week ended his 19-month victory drought, closed with 10 straight pars for a 69, giving him another tee time with Daly today.

They will be joined by Sergio Garcia, who shot a 67 to join Woods at 7 under.

Perrot leads in LPGA

AUBURN, Calif. – Chile’s Nicole Perrot moved into position for her first LPGA Tour victory, shooting a 7-under 64 to take a three-stroke lead after the third round of the Longs Drugs Challenge.

The 21-year-old Perrot, the 2001 U.S. Girls champion, had a 14-under 199 total on The Ridge Golf Course. She had eight birdies – four in a row on Nos. 3-6 – and a bogey in the best round of her first full season on the tour.

Sweden’s Liselotte Neumann (64) and South Korea’s Hee-Won Han (66) were 11 under, and Sherri Turner (66), Jennifer Rosales (67) and Sherri Steinhauer (69) followed at 9 under. Han won the Office Depot Championship on Monday in Rancho Palos Verdes.

Hall of Famers Juli Inkster (67) and Beth Daniel (70) were in a group at 8 under, and Annika Sorenstam was nine strokes back at 5 under after a 71.

Greater Hickory Classic

CONOVER, N.C. (AP) – Dana Quigley shot a season-best 8-under 64 to take a one-stroke lead over Loren Roberts in the Greater Hickory Classic.

The 58-year-old Quigley, a two-time winner this year who leads the Champions Tour money list with $1,812,298, had a 12-under 132 total on the Rock Barn Golf & Spa’s Jones Course. Roberts, the Jeld-Wen Tradition winner in August, shot a 65.

Jay Haas (67), Jim Ahern (66) and Tom McKnight (68) were 9 under, and Brad Bryant (67) and Lonnie Nielsen (70) were another stroke back.

Abama Open de Canarias

TENERIFE, Canary Islands (AP) – England’s John Bickerton shot a 2-under 69 to take a one-stroke lead over compatriot Stuart Little in the Abama Open de Canarias.

Bickerton had a 7-under 206 total. Little shot a 72.

AP-ES-10-08-05 2051EDT


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