After a promising performance Friday that saw Tiger Woods fire a 4-under-par 68 and climb back into contention, he could only manage an even-par 72 Saturday in the third round of THE PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Paired with Keegan Bradley, Woods made two birdies and two bogeys and just could never get untracked on the Pete Dye-designed Stadium Course. Tiger opened with six consecutive pars and closed with five straight on a sunny and breezy afternoon.
Woods, who won this event in 2001, has a 54-hole score of 2-under 214. Kevin Na holds a one-shot lead at 12-under 204.
"I played well today and didn't get anything out of that round," Woods said afterward. "It was probably the most solid I've hit the golf ball all year actually. Even though I hit a couple off-line, they were just dead-flush. I just got nothing out of the round."
Tiger did hit 15 greens in regulation, but he seldom hit the ball close to the hole. He hit 11 putts of 25 feet or more and missed a three-foot par attempt at the seventh hole.
After using 28 putts in each of the first two rounds, he needed 33 on Saturday. In 31 tries from 10 feet or farther this week, Woods has made one putt.
"There's so much danger out there," said Woods. "You can shoot a 65, but then you can also go shoot something in the 70s pretty easily, too."
For the second time in three days, Woods did not capitalize on the four par 5s, making three pars and one birdie.
Woods saved par with a six-foot putt on the first hole, then two-putted from long range at Nos. 2 and 3. He saved par again from just inside four feet at the par-4 fourth, then gave himself a good birdie chance at the 393-yard, par-4 sixth, but failed to convert from six feet.
Tiger bogeyed the 442-yard, par-4 seventh, missing the short par putt, and gave himself good birdie looks at Nos. 8 and 9, missing from seven feet at the par-3 eighth and from 12 feet at the par-5 ninth to make the turn in 1-over 37.
Woods also bogeyed the 424-yard, par-4 10th, where he was unable to roll in a 13-foot putt. Tiger finally collected his first birdie of the round at the 558-yard, par-5 11th, where he drove into the left rough, knocked his second shot 20 yards short of the green, and pitched to four feet.
After a long two-putt at No. 12, Woods added another birdie at the 181-yard, par-3 13th, where he poured in a 15-foot putt. But he gave himself few good chances the rest of the way.
Woods two-putted for par from 78 feet at the 14th hole; two-putted for par from 32 feet at the 15th hole; hit a poor bump-and-run shot and missed a 22-foot birdie try at the par-5 16th hole; then did well to two-putt the par-3 17th hole from 58 feet.
Tiger closed by just missing an 18-foot birdie putt and tapping in for par at the par-4 18th.
Woods will tee off Sunday in the final round at 11:25 a.m. ET with Jim Furyk.