Cold putter curtails Tiger's PGA charge

It was moving day at the PGA Championship and Tiger Woods had his foot on the gas before he stalled on the back nine.

12-Aug-2018 By Australian Associated Press
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Tiger Woods knew the shot was good.

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.

And Woods knew the putt was bad.

He muscled it three feet past the hole, then pulled the putt coming back off line and, after settling for a disappointing par, he briefly grabbed the putter with both hands, as if to bend it, before deciding better of it.

That par was the most disappointing of the 10 straight Woods made to finish his third round at the PGA Championship.

He carded a four-under 66 to reach eight under.

That's four back of leader Brooks Koepka. Within striking range but not as good as it might've been.

"Could've been a little closer," Woods said. "But I've got a shot going into tomorrow."

For the third straight day at the wide-open, squishy Bellerive Country Club, Woods hit the ball well from tee to green - finding 15 greens in regulation - and looked every bit the contender in St. Louis.

But Tiger's putter? It brought more moans than cheers to the fans, and more frustration than joy to Woods.

He has not made a putt of longer than 17 feet over three days and has only made five putts of more than 10 feet all week.

As Saturday's round wore on, he was consistently coming up short as the already soft greens got even slower; he had six birdie tries of 20 feet or less over the back nine and didn't make one.

"The greens were getting fuzzy, they're getting slow, and I didn't hit the putts quite hard enough," Woods said.

"And I made sure I did on 17. And I blew it by about four feet and then pulled the next one."

The misses on 17, combined with a missed birdie try from 15 feet below the hole on 18, took away the tantalising prospect of Woods playing in the final group in a major for the first time since 2009 (When he lost to Y.E. Yang at the PGA.)

But it doesn't mean he won't have a chance to catch Koepka.

"The golf course is playing soft, it's gettable, you have to make birdies," Woods said.

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