After another strong round at TPC Potomac on Saturday, Tiger Woods has an outside chance to capture his first victory of his latest comeback at the Quicken Loans National. Woods followed up a Friday 65 with an eventful 68 in the third round to move to seven under, six shots off the lead.
His round got off to a rough start when he airmailed the 1st green by 30 yards. He nearly pulled off an incredible up-and-down, but his 18-footer for par lipped out, leading to bogey. At the par-5 2nd, Tiger's long second shot ended up in a difficult spot in a bunker and he was unable to make birdie on the gettable hole.
But everything changed when Woods arrived at the 4th.
There, he stuck is approach to seven feet at the par-4 and rolled in the putt for his first birdie of the day, providing some momentum that would carry him for the next several holes.
A the par-4 5th, Woods made another mid-ranger to add a second birdie and move to six under for the tournament. He quickly picked up his ball and confidently strolled to the next tee.
Now we're making moves.— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) June 30, 2018
3 at No. 4
3 at No. 5
Another great tee shot into the fairway at 6 preceded an approach shot that took an aggressive line, but one that paid off. Woods was left with 12 feet, and he raised his putter as his ball sneaked into the left side of the cup for his third birdie in a row.
But he wasn't done yet. Woods smashed a 307-yard drive into the fairway at the par-4 7th hole. His wedge shot from 131 yards settled just eight feet from the cup. You can guess what happened next.
The putt gave Tiger four birdies in a row, electrifying the crowds and moving him to eight under for the tournament, just one shot off the lead.
A hiccup came at the eighth hole. Woods's second shot went wide left into deep rough. His chip failed to make it onto the green, settling in thick grass on the edge of the putting surface. He nearly sank the following chip to save par, but it just missed. The bogey dropped him back to seven under.
But he finished off the front nine in style.
Tiger's tee shot at 9, a par-3, came up 26-feet short of the hole. He crouched down behind the ball studying the line intently, then hit a confident stroke that dove into the cup for his fifth birdie of the round, eliciting a fist-pump from Tiger and a frenzied reaction by the massive gallery that had gathered to watch.
Woods needed just 11 putts to shoot 32 on outward side. His strong iron played continued on the back, but his putter began to fail him. He missed a 10-footer for birdie at the par-5 10th, followed by another birdie miss from 12 feet at 11.
After a par at 12, Woods ran into trouble on the short par-4 13th. A wild tee shot left him in the right rough with tree branches in his path. His low approach shot went over the green and left him in a difficult downhill lie on the side of a bunker. His ensuing chip came out hot and ran 26-feet past, leading to a two-putt bogey.
The par-4 14th hole was playing just 297 yards on Saturday, and Woods took advantage of it. He smashed a 3-wood that bounced just over the green into rough only 17 feet from the hole. But Woods hit a poor chip from there that set up an eight-foot birdie try, far longer than he hoped given his tee shot. He failed to make that one, settling for a disappointing par.
He finally got back on the birdie train at 16, where a terrific iron from 140 gave him an easy putt which he sank to move back to eight under.
Woods added a fourth bogey at the closing hole when he couldn’t get up-and-down from a greenside bunker. The bogey gave him a two-under 68 for the third round. His seven-under total was six shots behind 54-hole co-leaders Abraham Ancer and Francesco Molinari, but with birdies abounding at TPC Potomac this week, anything can happen on Sunday.