BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — Tournament host Tiger Woods and defending champion Anthony Kim set the stage Saturday for a showdown everyone wanted at the AT&T National, with some expected company on a suddenly crowded leaderboard at Congressional.

Woods salvaged an even-par 70 from a roller-coaster round, losing a three-shot lead in two holes and having to scramble down the stretch to regain a share of the lead.

Kim turned birdie into bogey with an ugly three-putt on No. 9, but kept his cool in warm, blustery conditions for a 2-under 68.

The 24-year-old has never finished higher than Woods in a PGA Tour event, and this will be the first time they have been paired together in any round of any tournament.

“I’m excited to be there,” Kim said. “There’s not too many chances to play against the best in the world at his tournament. I would love to play great tomorrow.”

And what does he expect from Tiger?

“I expect he’s going to be wearing a red shirt and be out there ready to go,” Kim said.

Woods has a 44-3 record on the PGA Tour when he has at least a share of the 54-hole lead, although it took work to get there. He started with a one-shot lead over Rod Pampling, an advantage that was gone after one hole when Woods drove into the gallery and couldn’t reach the green out of the thick rough.

He recovered with a 25-foot eagle on the par-5 ninth for a three-shot lead, but going from bunker-to-bunker near the green and missing a 7-foot putt gave him a double bogey at No. 11 — Woods has played that hole in 4 over this week — and a tie for the lead.

Woods had to get up-and-down for birdie on the 16th for a share of the lead, and he made routine pars for his 70.

They were at 10-under 200, but this was far from a two-man race.

Michael Allen, who is 0-for-336 in his PGA Tour career but undefeated on the Champions Tour when he won the Senior PGA Championship earlier this year, made seven birdies in a round of 65, the best score Saturday.

Allen turned 50 in January and ventured out to play against men his own age only once, winning at Canterbury at a senior major. He has won on the Nationwide Tour, the European PGA Tour and the Champions Tour.

This one would be the most meaningful.

“It would be a culmination of what I’ve always been try to do,” Allen said. “And champagne for everybody.”

He was at 9-under 201 with Cameron Beckman, who chipped in for eagle on the par-5 16th for a 66.

A dozen players were separated by four shots going into the final round, including Jim Furyk (69) and Pampling (71) at 8-under 202, and U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover (68) another shot behind.

Woods has gone five years without losing when he is atop the leaderboard through 36 holes, and after four hours of a few shaky shots and several times getting fooled by the wind, he was happy to still be there.

“Eighteen pars, just real consistent round,” he deadpanned.

He missed a 5-footer for par on the sixth, and missed from the same for birdie on the next hole. Right when he appeared to seize control with a birdie-eagle finish to the front nine, he gave it right back by chopping up the 11th.

“It was a tough day,” Woods said. “One of those things you just had to grind it out and get through it. There were a lot of lag putts. I just never had a whole lot of birdie chances.”

Woods might need some Sunday playing with Kim, an explosive player who is regarded as the next American star the way he won last year at Quail Hollow and Congressional, then energized the U.S. team in a Ryder Cup victory.

Kim was inspired to take up golf after Woods won the Masters in 1997, and he often stayed late at golf course, dreaming that he had a 10-foot putt to beat Woods, with Woods looking on.

That happened last year, although Woods was watching from his home in Florida while recovering from knee surgery.

An already bustling week outside the Beltway figures to ramp up even more on Sunday to watch the most dynamic figures at Congressional. The gallery made it feel like June 1997, when Congressional hosted the U.S. Open.

Kim can’t wait to get started. Woods has been there before, and was pacing his emotions.

“Not yet,” Woods said. “I’m just looking forward to taking the family and watching fireworks tonight, and then getting reset tomorrow morning for the round. That’s when I’ll get fired up.”


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