Tiger Woods is in hunt but laments one hole that got away

ST. LOUIS — Tiger Woods will wake up Sunday morning very much in the hunt to win his first major championship in more than 10 years.

“I could have been a little bit closer,’’ Woods said after shooting a second consecutive 66 in Saturday’s third round of the PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club, “but I’ve got a shot going into [Sunday].’’

Woods, at 8-under, will enter the day four shots behind leader Brooks Koepka with just four players between himself and the reigning U.S. Open champion.

He’d have a better shot at his first major victory since 2008 had it not been for a sloppy three-putt on No. 17, a par-5 on which he turned a 19-foot eagle putt into a devastating par. He had a chance to eagle the hole and get to 10-under, three shots behind Koepka at the time. It was Woods’ second three-putt in the round.

“It started with the first putt. I ran it by,” Woods said. “I shouldn’t have been that aggressive with that first putt and it cost me.”

After the birdie on No. 8 that got him to within two shots of the lead, Woods carded 11 consecutive pars to finish his round of 66.

Curiously, he’s 10-under on the front nine and 2-over on the back — a trend that’s going to need to be corrected if he’s going to have any chance to capture his 15th career major championship Sunday.

“I hit it good on the back nine, I just didn’t make anything,” Woods said. “I struggled hitting the ball hard enough and I made an adjustment on 17 and I blow it by four feet and miss it. I’ve got to make adjustments better than I did [Saturday].”

Woods played 29 holes of golf Saturday, completing the final 12 from the suspended second round before starting the third.

“I’m tired,” he said. “It takes a lot out of you. It’s not just the body, but the mind. It’s been a long day. I feel like I played well [Saturday]. I played 29 holes and I think I dropped three shots today and two of those were 3-putts. I just wish I could have gotten myself a couple more shots closer to the lead.”

Asked what it would mean to bag his 15th major, Woods said, “A long way to go before that happens. I’ve got to shoot a low round [Sunday] and hopefully it will be enough.”

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