Tiger's Open challenge stumbles
Tiger Woods' Open challenge was in danger of fizzling out as the 14-time major champion made a poor start to his third round at Royal Lytham.
Woods' last act in his second round on Friday was to hole a bunker shot for a birdie on the 18th to complete a second consecutive round of 67, moving to within four shots of the lead held by fellow American Brandt Snedeker.
The former world number world one was delighted to be "right in the mix" as he sought a first major title since 2008, but was furious at dropping two shots in his opening three holes on Saturday afternoon.
His tee shot on the opening hole - Lytham is the only course on the Open rotation to start with a par three - ran through the back of the green, from where he chipped to six feet and missed the par putt.
And a par on the second was followed by a clumsy bogey on the third, where he opted to putt from 10 yards short of the green, but charged his first attempt 10ft past the hole and missed the return.
In contrast, Snedeker was proceeding serenely on his way after equalling the 36-hole Open record of 130 thanks to rounds of 66 and 64 in which he had not carded a single bogey or found one of Lytham's 206 dangerous bunkers.
Three regulation pars kept the world number 29 at 10 under par, one clear of Australia's Adam Scott, with Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen a further four shots behind alongside former Masters champion Zach Johnson.
Woods had fallen six off the pace on four under and a share of fifth place in a large group also containing former Open winners Ernie Els and Paul Lawrie.
Woods almost got back on track by holing another bunker shot, but this time his escape from sand on the par-three fifth ran agonisingly past the edge of the hole.
However, just one hole later he had the crowd roaring their approval as he sank a 60ft putt on the sixth green to get back to five under and just four off the lead courtesy of Snedeker's first bogey of the week.
After more than two days of flawless golf, Snedeker finally dropped a shot on his 41st hole after taking three putts from just short of the green on the fifth.
Els meanwhile had birdied the seventh to join Woods on five under, the South African having finished second at Lytham in 1996 and third in 2001.
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