By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 16/06/19 3:47am
Tiger Woods was unable to make the move he needed to get into contention for a fourth US Open title as he managed only a scrappy, level-par 71 on day three at Pebble Beach.
Nine strokes behind overnight, Woods needed a fast start to his third round to revive his hopes of a 16th major crown, but he suffered early setbacks with bogeys at two of the first three holes.
The Masters champion repaired the damage quickly with back-to-back birdies, but his inconsistent form continued on the back-nine as he mixed two more bogeys with three birdies, although two gains over the last three holes lifted his spirits.
Woods tugged his opening tee shot into the left rough and was forced to lay-up, leading to an opening bogey and an audible curse or two, and after he missed a good chance from 10 feet on the second, he dumped a wedge into a greenside bunker at the next and could not get up and down.
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The 43-year-old responded with a birdie at the fourth and then rattled in a 25-footer for a two at the fifth to get back to level par, but he needed three to get down from just short of the green at the sixth and three-putted the seventh to drop another shot.
He scrambled pars at 10 and 11 but blotted his card at both the 12th and 15th either side of a birdie at the long 14th, but he restored respectability with a huge putt from just inside 30 feet for birdie at 16 and a comfortable two-putt birdie at the last.
“I got off to a crap start,” was his blunt assessment afterwards. “Two over through three, and those are the easier holes. And I had to try to fight back and claw out a round today, which I was able to do.
“I’ve had my chances to post good rounds this week, and today was a perfect example, I fought back and if I was able to clean up my rounds the first two days, I would be closer to the lead than I am now.”
Live US Open Golf
June 16, 2019, 7:00pm