After three rounds of nearly limitless frustration, Tiger Woods has his work cut out for him on Sunday if he's going to claim his fifth green jacket.
Woods fired a two-under 70 on Saturday to leave him at three-under for the tournament and four strokes back of leaders Angel Cabrera and Brandt Snedeker.
Moving day at the Masters began with Tiger Woods going in the wrong direction before he even hit the course.
The four-time Masters champ was assessed a two-stroke penalty for his drop on No. 15 in the second round after his approach struck the pin and rebounded into the water.
Acknowledging he made a mistake, Woods was respectful of the ruling, but there's no doubt this frustration had to linger.
The hit pin on No. 15 from Round 2 essentially cost him four strokes. If we put those four strokes back on his card, this leaderboard would look vastly different.
Tiger Woods' 2013 Round 3 Masters Scorecard
Note: Birdies and eagles appear in bold, and bogeys in italics.
Woods began his round looking like he was going to quickly reclaim his two lost strokes as he birdied the opening hole after going tee to green in perfect form.
However, his momentum was quickly stalled, as he had to lay up with his second shot on the par-five second hole and then two putted for par.
If Tiger was going to make a serious run on this day, he needed to improve on the par fives. He entered the tournament having played them at two-under for the first two rounds.
Tiger parred the third, and he then flew the green on the par-three fourth hole and couldn't get up and down as he recorded a bogey to fall back to even-par for his round. This was a terrible time for Tiger to get his first bogey on a par three at this Masters.
Tiger was solid in earning back-to-back pars the next two holes. He then birdied the par-four seventh following a nice approach and drilled his eight-foot birdie putt to move to two-under.
With the par-five eighth up next, it was another opportunity for Tiger to work his way back into contention. Unfortunately, his bad luck on the par fives continued.
Tiger hit a beautiful flop shot to give himself a short birdie putt, but that putt did a full revolution around the cup before lipping out. This left Tiger with a tap-in for par, and it was clear the frustration Woods was feeling began to mount.
That frustration showed as Woods found the pine straw with his ensuing tee shot and wound up with a bogey to close out the front at even-par and one-under for the tournament.
Having not been under par on Augusta's back nine in his past eight rounds, Woods desperately needed to make up some ground on the side on this day.
He carded a solid par on the difficult 10th, but a long approach on No. 11 led to a two-putt bogey. However, a nice putt on No. 12 for a birdie quickly reclaimed his stroke and a little momentum.
After a wide drive on No. 13, Tiger hit a beauty from the pine straw and wound up with a vital birdie on the par five to move to two-under for the tournament.
An uneventful par on the 14th, and a nice drive on the ensuing hole, led to Tiger staring down his new nemesis—the 15th flagstick—for a pivotal approach shot. This time, Tiger laid up just a little short with this beautiful effort.
With the pin restrained by a caddie, Tiger two putted for a birdie, and he had finally reclaimed his two lost strokes as he moved to two-under for the day and three-under for the tournament.
A sand save earned Tiger a par on No. 16, and a nice recovery from the pine straw kept him from dropping any strokes on No. 17.
Tiger made another nice save on No. 18 after his drive found the rough, and he drilled a 10-foot par putt to keep himself in striking distance, and finally finish the back under par.
Woods will begin the final round with some serious ground to make up, but he is playing better than his score indicates.
Tiger now must do something he's never done before: come from behind on Sunday to win a major. I'm certainly not ready to count him out.
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