Woods survives cut but continues to struggle on greens

Woods survives cut but continues to struggle on greens

It's nearly a badge of honor to have a performance so good that you have to be tested immediately, just to prove it was all legit.

The dismal effort left McIlroy just a shot inside the three-over cut line and trailing well behind little-known American Paul Malnati, who added a 68 to his first round 67 to lead at seven under.

Woods' sixth straight third round of par of better was promising, but it wasn't good enough to make up a lot of ground - and certainly not as bold as the moves from Phil Mickelson (64) or Rory McIlroy (66). With his bare feet in the stream and the ball on the bank well above his feet, he hit a full wedge to the back of the green for a two-putt par.

He recovered beautifully from a wild tee shot on the final hole by cutting a short iron from the pine needles to the back fringe and two-putted for his par.

A 4m birdie at his final hole was by far the longest putt he sank all day.

After his round, Woods said his putting struggles are "not fun", but he has made adjustments.

The greens at Quail Hollow have perplexed Woods all week. Fowler is 6 shots off the lead and McIlroy is 7 shots off the lead, but both are capable of going low and winning this tournament. I knew things were going to turn around. Uihlein had a 62, one off the course record, and finished before the leaders began the third round.

"I certainly was frustrated, there's no doubt about that", Woods said.

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"It's amusing as I was hitting the ball left in the pro-am", he revealed.

Woods' round was his first under-par score of the tournament and might have been really low if he had been able to find more form with his putter - the one he feigned ditching in a trash can after he three-putt the final green.

His 64 matches his lowest score since opening the 2016 Open with a 63 at Royal Troon (he shot 64 a year ago in the final round at the Greenbrier) and he did it without a bogey. He'll have a decent shot at a win in his 12th start of the year.

He stands five behind Day, who shot 67 and holds a two-shot advantage over Nick Watney.

"I've played it well and it's one of those golf courses that sets up well for me, it fits my eye".

Tiger Woods (-1) and Graeme McDowell (-2) were also undone by the 18th, the Ulsterman carding a double bogey at the last to scupper what had been a terrific bogey-free, six-birdie round through the first 17 holes.

The 28-year-old is never one to mince his words, but he has never made his desire to win the Masters and his love for the tournament clearer. But I wasn't at all, it was actually the other way, it was more clubface.

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