After storming into contention with a bogey-free second round on Friday, Tiger Woods experienced an up-and-down day at the Turkish Airlines Open on Saturday. He shot a four-under 68, which allowed him to remain in the hunt at 15 under for the tournament.
However, it dropped him six behind leader Victor Dubuisson.
Woods couldn't quite duplicate the magical round of 63 he turned in on Friday. Early on it seemed as though Tiger was on pace for another scorching round, but some careless approach shots led to bogeys late in the third round.
That caused him to fall off the blistering pace set by Dubuisson.
Woods has really benefited from the par fives at Montgomerie Maxx Royal Golf Course this week due to his power off the tee. That continued on Saturday as the world's No. 1 cashed in with a birdie on the first hole.
Stenson (-13) & Woods (-12) both birdie par-5 1st. Sterne (-10) makes par. Asked Stenson how he's feeling: "Hangin' in like a loose tooth."— Matt Ginella (@MattGinellaGC) November 9, 2013
Following a par on the second, Woods took advantage of a short par four with an excellent tee shot that allowed him to convert an easy birdie.
Woods hits it close to a front-left pin on short par-4 3rd. He's one back of Stenson & Dubuisson. pic.twitter.com/Rqsvj34GSo— Matt Ginella (@MattGinellaGC) November 9, 2013
Who will win this tournament?
As impressive as Tiger has been throughout this tournament, his putter has been inconsistent. If not for a few missed putts within 10 feet on Friday, he could have potentially taken a run at 59.
Woods' putting issues cropped up once again on the par-five fourth as he missed a birdie attempt that could have created a great deal of momentum.
Woods has done a great job of handling par threes throughout the tournament. He hasn't gotten himself into much trouble on those tricky holes, and he came away with a par at the fifth.
Makes par at the par-3 5th, stays 2 under in Round 3 and 3 back— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 9, 2013
He once again parred the sixth before frustration set in at the seventh. Tiger was in a perfect position to knock home a birdie after his approach shot, but he was unable to cash in, instead settling for par.
Woods misses short birdie putt at 7 (-13) and Stenson misses par putt (-13).— Matt Ginella (@MattGinellaGC) November 9, 2013
Woods hasn't allowed negativity to take over his game during the tournament, which is a big reason why he continues to stay in contention. Even after the disappointing birdie miss at the seventh, he bounced back with a birdie on the par-three eighth.
Makes birdie at the par-3 8th hole, moves to 3 under on the day, now 2 off Victor Dubuisson's pace (16 under)— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 9, 2013
Woods then picked up another par on the ninth hole to finish a strong front nine, but he was unable to make any headway on Dubuisson.
Par at the ninth for Woods, makes turn at 3 under. Is 14 under total, trails Victor Dubuisson by 3, who made birdie at 8 to get to 17 under— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 9, 2013
After starting off the back nine with a par, Woods experienced a scary moment on the 11th. He had to play a shot behind a tree, and he appeared to sting his hands when he hit the tree with his follow-through.
As he tries to bend a 5-wood from rough & around trees, looks like Tiger hits hand on branch of small tree. Lets go of club. Holds hand.— Matt Ginella (@MattGinellaGC) November 9, 2013
Woods proved to be just fine, however, as he ended up making birdie.
Makes birdie at the 11th after getting up and down out of the bunker. Puts him at 15 under, 2 off the lead— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 9, 2013
He was able to avoid making bogey in the second round and through the first 11 holes on Saturday, but he finally dropped a stroke on the 12th.
Tiger's first blemish of the day comes at No. 12. Makes his third bogey of the week, drops back to 14 under, trails Dubuisson by 3— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 9, 2013
That may have led to a fall down the leaderboard for a lesser golfer, but Tiger continued to have a short memory. Despite the bogey and tree fiasco that occurred just minutes earlier, Woods blocked it all out as he made birdie at the 13th.
Tiger birdies No. 13 to get back to 15 under, is T-2 alongside Raphael Jacquelin. Trails Dubuisson (still) by 2 #whoisthisguy?!— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 9, 2013
It was easy to sense that Woods was starting to build confidence and momentum after that birdie, and he carried it over to the 14th as he made his best putt of the day for yet another bird.
Here we go! Tiger makes back-to-back birdies and gets into solo second, one shot off the lead. Rolled in long birdie putt at 14— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 9, 2013
As is often the case in golf, though, things tend to change at the drop of a hat. Woods seemed poised to tear through the final few holes on Saturday, but he made a bit of a mess out of the 15th hole, which led to his second bogey of the day.
The bogey at 15 drops Tiger back to 15 under total, 4 off the lead and T-3— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 9, 2013
Tiger put himself in another precarious position at the 16th as his shot landed near a tree. That forced an awkward chip that didn't do him any favors.
On subject of chopping & trees, this is another one--left of 16--that might not make it through the night. pic.twitter.com/nBXXBDjZQh— Matt Ginella (@MattGinellaGC) November 9, 2013
Woods once again made bogey as he continued to lose sight of the dominant Dubuisson.
Makes the putt to save bogey, drops to 14 under, now 5 back of Dubuisson. Two holes to go in Round 3.— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 9, 2013
Tiger finally seemed to stabilize things a bit with a par on the 17th, but his struggles picked back up on the par-five 18th. Woods was way off the mark with his tee shot, which forced him to essentially play his second shot from a forest.
After pulling his tee shot, Tiger has this on par-5 18th: Good lie, small window. pic.twitter.com/J7ojVP4rdg— Matt Ginella (@MattGinellaGC) November 9, 2013
Tiger talked a bit about his round after the day ended, telling the Associated Press, via ESPN:
To birdie the last hole was a nice way to end, considering I struggled all day with my swing. I was getting away with it on the front nine, but I wasn't really playing well and it caught up with me on the back nine.
One of Woods' best attributes is his ability to scramble, and that was on full display as he recovered to close the round with a much-needed birdie.
Despite a tee ball in the trees, Tiger makes birdie at 18 to shoot 68— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 9, 2013
If not for Tiger's late-round struggles, he could potentially be in the lead heading into Sunday. That isn't the case, but if he can manage a round that resembles what he did on Friday, then he definitely has a chance to leave Turkey with yet another trophy in tow.
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