Published: Sun, August 12, 2018

Putts won’t drop, but Woods moves up the board at PGA anyway

Putts won’t drop, but Woods moves up the board at PGA anyway

Tiger Woods charged into contention for his first major title in 10 years while two-time US Open champion Brooks Koepka seized a three-stroke lead at the turn in Saturday's third round of the PGA Championship.

Woods, a 14-time major champion in his comeback season from spinal fusion surgery, birdied five of the first eight holes and shared sixth on eight-under par through 14 holes at Bellerive Country Club. Just two strokes back was Adam Scott, who had the low round among the leaders with his 65.

The biggest buzz, as always, belonged to Woods.

Woods has mixed five birdies with a bogey to race to eight under and the four-time PGA Champion shares fifth alongside 2017 victor Justin Thomas, Shane Lowry and Pat Perez.

He never imagined what it would take for him just to get to the weekend.

"Guys are making birdie from everywhere", Woods said, "so it's going to be a little different this afternoon". "It's soft, it's gettable, and you can't just go out there and make a bunch of pars".

For the second time this season the game's best will begin a Sunday at a major chasing Koepka, and Koepka will begin his day in the gym.

He has only one other PGA Tour victory, one in Europe and two in Japan. But put him against the strongest fields and the biggest events, and he's a world-beater.


"I feel like, if I do what I'm supposed to do", Koepka said, "I should win the golf tournament".

Sure, there is a lot to knock about Bellerive as a host venue. "And that might mean shooting 5 under again to hang around, but I would love to be in the mix coming down the stretch and have the chance to hole some putts to win".

Ten players were within four shots of the lead, which includes defending champion Justin Thomas (68), Jason Day (67) and Stewart Cink, the 2009 British Open champion who played with Woods and matched his 66. Hearing the crowd, and Tiger's performing great.

And he made it look ever so easy, bludgeoning his drives massive distances and honing in on the pins with unerring accuracy.

Jordan Spieth found that out on a hole that effectively ended his second bid for the career Grand Slam. And then his round was derailed - but only temporarily - when he came up a foot short of the green on the par-3 sixth hole, went into the water and made triple bogey. He had to settle for a 69 and was eight shots behind, with 27 players in front of him.

There were so many other big names jostling for position that at one point it felt more like a vehicle race than a golf tournament. Woodland's approach spun back into a bunker, and he failed to get it up and out of the sand. Worse, the ball landed in a divot of unraked sand.

The final result was a triple bogey seven and any real hope was lost. "Hopefully, I'm in his position tomorrow". He had to make an 8-foot par save on the 13th. He struck it pure from 240 yards on the 17th hole and started strutting down the fairway, watching the ball land 20 feet from the pin - one good putt away from an eagle that would have vaulted him into second place. He got up-and-down to escape with bogey.

Woods and Fowler were among those just happy to get off the course. With only half of the 156 golfers finished with their second round, a heavy rain storm hit the course and suspended play at the PGA Championship until 7 AM Saturday morning.

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