Tiger Woods overcame a poor front nine to play himself back into contention after three rounds of the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind. He shot a 1-under-par 71 and stands in eighth place at 13-under 203, three strokes behind co-leaders Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh.
Woods made four bogeys on the opening side and his chances of winning the tournament for a sixth time seemed to be slipping away. But for the second time this week, Tiger chipped in for a birdie from 17 feet at the par-5 ninth hole to salvage a 2-over 38, then played the back nine in 3-under 33.
"I wasn't playing very well," said Woods, who hit only nine of 18 greens and seven of 14 fairways in regulation but escaped with 26 putts. "I made two bogeys from the middle of the fairway and needed to get back in the tournament."
This is the third of four PGA Tour playoff events for the FedExCup title. Seventy players are competing, and following play Sunday, the top 30 in overall points will advance to the TOUR Championship, Sept. 20-23 at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Ga. for a chance to win the $10 million prize.
Due to nearly three inches of overnight rain, tee times were delayed one hour. Also, players were allowed to play lift, clean and place in their own fairways.
Paired with Lee Westwood and Bo Van Pelt, Tiger parred the first two holes, missing 14-foot birdie attempts. He made back-to-back bogeys at the 195-yard, par-3 third, where he couldn't get up and down from the left greenside bunker, and at the 483-yard, par-4 fourth, where he drove into the left rough, found the left greenside bunker and two-putted from 35 feet.
Woods saved par at the par-5 fifth, then drained a 37-foot birdie putt at the par-3 sixth. At the 454-yard, par-4 seventh, Tiger drove in the fairway and had 146 yards to the green. However, his approach shot failed to find the putting surface and he missed an 11-foot putt for par.
After another good drive at the 456-yard, par-4 eighth, Woods' second shot from 137 yards finished 50 feet from the flag. Tiger three-putted, missing an eight-foot par putt. However, he closed with a birdie to gain much-needed momentum for the back nine, pumping his right fist after the chip-in.
At the 397-yard, par-4 10th, Woods knocked his approach shot from 146 yards nine feet from the cup and made the birdie putt. He made it two-in-a-row at the 595-yard, par-5 11th, reaching the green in two and two-putting from 24 feet.
Following a two-putt par at No. 12, Tiger carded his third birdie by sinking a 10-foot putt at the 182-yard, par-3 13th.
Woods closed out his round by recording five-straight pars, making nice saves at the par-3 17th and par-4 18th holes. He was unable to birdie the short par-5 15th, the easiest hole on the course, when he drove into thick rough on the right and had to lay up.
"At least I'm within reach," Woods said of the leaders. "I'll probably have to shoot something low, like a 63 to win."
Tiger tees off Sunday at 1:15 p.m. ET with Dustin Johnson.