While it’s going to be a hard task for Woods to claim a 15th major win this week, it’s not out of the question.
Tiger Woods birdied five of the first eight holes and charged into contention for his first major title since 2008 in Saturday’s (Aug 11) third round of the PGA Championship.
Woods, 42, began the day four strokes back of the leader, Brooks Koepka, and at one point on the back nine, was just one stroke back.
Woods finished on -14, two shots off Koepka and level with Adam Scott, who are still on the course. He leads all golfers at 10-under; it’s the second nine that has been problematic.
Tough to swallow with the 2019 major season now eight months away.
But his next birdie attempt did, at the par-4 12th.
Australian Scott produced a ball-striking round of impeccable quality, a 65 the best score of the afternoon, marred only by a couple of missed putts, including a seven-footer at the last.
Woods, with a 2:35 p.m. The Aussie’s only top-10 showing in the past 12 majors was ninth previous year at Augusta.
Then, he produced some unreal scrambling.
Without hitting a fairway on the front nine, Woods cut the four-shot deficit to two. Woods resumed on the eighth hole, where he had a wedge shot from 70 yards that he knocked close for a birdie.
He again got up and down for par after a wild drive at the par-4 fifth. Kevin Kisner shot a six under par 64 to sit at 9 under par, one shot out of the lead. It would get even crazier. The uphill effort looked good the whole way before stopping on the edge of the hole, unwilling to fall in despite heartfelt pleas from the player himself and the raucous St. Louis crowds.
The putt then dropped for a stunning birdie. 2018 is Woods’ best year in half a decade, and the sport is better off for it. If Woods can get back to finding the fairway, he could make a real move here.
But that would be the climax.
He parred every hole on the back nine and his 66 matched his lowest round in a major this year, but he was a little disappointed, not least with a three-putt at the par-five 17th. Finishes with birdie on the last. “But I’ve got a shot going into tomorrow”.
That’s disappointing for Woods, but what a performance. That means Mickelson will fail to automatically qualify for the Ryder Cup team for the first time since his first full season on the PGA Tour in 1993.
“I told myself exactly that on 11 tee”, Woodland said of his triple in Phoenix.
And remember, he did all of this despite starting the tournament bogey-double bogey.
Woods, who has never won a major title when not leading after 54 holes, owns 79 career PGA titles, three shy of Sam Snead’s all-time record.
But Woods’ comeback has been a complete success.
Of the other Aussies in the final men’s major of the year, Marc Leishman will also be safe into the third round despite a 71 that left him at one under.