Tiger in range of leaders at Australian Open

Tiger in range of leaders at Australian Open

SYDNEY (AP) – Tiger Woods is right in the middle of an Aussie-flavored championship Down Under.

Looking more like he did the opening two rounds, Woods ran off three birdies on his front nine and to pull within two shots of Greg Chalmers heading to the back nine.

Chalmers was at 11-under par through six holes, one shot ahead of Nick O'Hern.

Woods was tied with Jason Day, who hit his opening tee shot into the water, and 54-hole leader John Senden. Another Australian, defending champion Geoff Ogilvy, was 6 under for the round through 15 holes and only three shots out of the lead.

Most of the birdie chances come on the back nine of The Lakes, and Woods' goal was to play a solid front nine to at least give himself a chance at winning for the first time in two years.

Despite missing a good birdie chance on the opening hole, Woods had good control of his shots along the tougher front nine. He hit the third fairway for the first time all week and holed a 15-foot putt, then made a 6-foot birdie try on the next hole. Key to his round, however, were a couple of pars.

After his one bad miss on the front nine – an approach well left of a right hole location – he pitched over a large hump to 6 feet and made it for par. He also had a good lag from 40 feet up another severe slope, and hit putter through 10 feet of the kikuya grass to tap-in range on the seventh.

Woods made his other birdie on the par-5 eighth with a 3-wood into the wind, not quite as pure as Friday, but good enough to get into the left bunker for an easy up-and-down.

Woods began the day six shots behind. He has won from that far behind on the last day only once in his career, in 1998 at the Johnnie Walker Championship in Thailand, when he rallied from an eight-shot deficit and wound up beating Ernie Els in a playoff.

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