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Woods on a roll in China

Tiger Woods is working his charm in a new market.

Woods, playing his first official stroke-play event in China, shot a 5-under-par 67 yesterday and enters the final round of the HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai one stroke behind leader David Howell of England.

Woods is tied for second at 15-under 201 with Nick O'Hern, who had a 67 for the third consecutive round. Howell, who shared the lead with Australia's Nick Dougherty after the second round, missed a birdie putt on the last hole and settled for a 68.

More than 1,000 people tracked Woods's group around the Sheshan International Golf Club course, with the crowd at least doubling at some holes. The new $5 million tournament is the richest in Asia, and Woods wants to leave his imprint.

''Considering this is the biggest golfing event they've ever had, I think it would be very special to have your name associated with that," he said.

Woods has taken time this weekend to educate fans and photographers. Golf in China was nearly nonexistent 20 years ago, but the country hosted six European tour events in 2005. With the sudden rise has come confusion about golf etiquette -- such as ringing cell phones and taking photos on backswings.

At the first hole, Woods loosened the grip on his driver, turned and asked the gallery to ''hold the cameras." He interceded when a woman started moving while playing partner Kenneth Ferrie was lining up a crucial putt on No. 4. Woods called out courteously: ''Ma'am, hold still -- please!"

His patience ran out on the 12th tee, where he glared at a photographer after having to check his swing. The camera was taken by a security guard, and Woods went on to birdie the hole.

Woods had four birdies, a bogey, and an eagle on his first 14 holes, including a 25-foot putt for a 3 at the par-5 14th. But he bogeyed the next hole after driving into the rough, then hitting into a greenside bunker, and missing a 6-foot par putt.

Howell had five birdies and a bogey and looked forward to battling Woods -- though not necessarily the noisy galleries.

''Chaos surrounds him out there," said Howell. ''I had it for five minutes at the end today and I was frustrated -- he probably deals with that every day. It's a great opportunity for me to take on the world's best player, with a one-stroke lead, and win a massive tournament."

LPGA -- Liselotte Neumann made a 15-foot birdie putt at the 18th hole for a 5-under 67 and a one-stroke lead after three rounds of the Mitchell Company Tournament of Champions in Mobile, Ala.

With the closing birdie, Neumann broke out of a four-way tie and moved into the lead at 11-under 205 on the Magnolia Grove Golf Club's Crossings Course.

Defending champion Heather Daly-Donofrio had a 68 and joined Australia's Rachel Hetherington (72) and US Solheim Cup star Christina Kim (72) at 206. Hetherington and Kim shared the lead and a four-stroke advantage heading into the third round.

Hall of Famer Juli Inkster, looking for her first victory since the 2003 Evian Masters, birdied No. 18 for a 68 and moved within three strokes of the lead.

Neumann birdied four of her first six holes to erase a four-shot deficit and take the lead. She reached 11 under with a two-putt birdie at the par-5 16th, but gave that stroke back with a three-putt bogey at the par-3 17th, falling into a four-way tie for the lead before a birdie at the last.

PGA -- Fred Couples and Adam Scott used six straight birdies in the best-ball format to shoot an 11-under 61 for a two-stroke lead heading into the final round of the Franklin Templeton Shootout in Naples, Fla.

The 46-year-old Couples and 25-year-old Scott birdied Nos. 5-10 to reach 15 under, parred the next three, and then birdied four of the last five to finish at 19 under at Tiburon Golf Club.

Kenny Perry and John Huston teamed up for a 63 and moved to 17 under, a stroke ahead of first-round leaders Fred Funk and Jason Gore, who followed an opening 63 with a 65.

The teams will play a scramble format in today's final round of the $2.6 million event.

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