Tiger Woods Fails to Make Up Ground, Shoots 71 in 3rd Round at 2019 US Open

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 15, 2019

PEBBLE BEACH, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 15: Tiger Woods of the United States looks on from the second green during the third round of the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links on June 15, 2019 in Pebble Beach, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Tiger Woods battled to an even-par 71 at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, California, during the third round of the 2019 U.S. Open on Saturday.

At even par for the tournament, Woods entered the clubhouse in a tie for 29th and was nine strokes behind leader Gary Woodland.

After shooting a one-over 72 in a second round that saw him record 15 pars and one birdie over the first 16 holes before he bogeyed his final two holes of the day, Woods played a more eventful round Saturday with five birdies and five bogeys.

Early returns suggested the poor finish to Woods' second round may have carried over to the third, as he bogeyed both the first and third holes to drop to two over on the tournament. Shortly thereafter, however, Tiger bounced back and restored hope he could contend.

It started with a birdie on the par-four fourth to recoup one of the strokes lost at the start of the round:

U.S. Open (USGA) @usopengolf

Tiger is headed in the right direction! #USOpen https://t.co/rs3xqAuqY6

Woods followed that with another birdie on the par-three fifth, as he confidently sunk a putt from 25 feet out to move back to even:

U.S. Open (USGA) @usopengolf

Back-to-back for Tiger! #USOpen https://t.co/WiBH8Tqnhj

In a continuation of the inconsistency the 43-year-old has displayed throughout the tournament, he bogeyed again two holes later and made the turn at one over.

Another bogey on the par-three 12th put him in a tough spot and meant he would need a red-hot finish to even have a chance of salvaging a good finish Sunday.

A birdie on the par-five 14th was a good start, although he gave it right back with a bogey on the next hole, thus falling back to two over:

U.S. Open (USGA) @usopengolf

Tiger is trying to finish strong. He sinks a 🐦 on 14. #USOpen https://t.co/S7B9pxxnE1

Golf Channel's Tiger Tracker lamented the inconsistency of the reigning Masters champion's iron play throughout the round:

Tiger Tracker @GCTigerTracker

The mix of A+, C and F- irons today has been bewildering.

The up-and-down nature of Woods' day took another turn on the par-four 16th when he landed his approach in the middle of the green and then made a long birdie putt, which elicited a fist pump:

U.S. Open (USGA) @usopengolf

Tiger fighting until the end today. Big-time 🐦 on 16. #USOpen https://t.co/eMoHUkrvKP

After his birdie attempt lipped out on the par-three 17th, Woods headed toward the par-five 18th needing a birdie or better to avoid his second consecutive over-par round.

Tiger had a putt for eagle on the last, and although it didn't fall, he finished it up for birdie and salvaged an even-par round that could have ended up much worse.

Although Woods improved slightly from Friday to Saturday, he was far too erratic with his approach shots, which led to a bogey bonanza. Tiger canceled them out with five birdies, but he didn't make the most of an opportunity to gain ground on the leaders.

There is little chance that Woods will compete for the win Sunday, but if he can eliminate some of the mistakes he made Saturday, it isn't outside the realm of possibility that he could make a run at the top 10.