Matching the hot weather with a sizzling start, Tiger Woods was unable to sustain his great play Saturday and failed to make up ground after three rounds of the $6.1 million CIMB Classic at The MINES Resort and Golf Club in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.
Woods fashioned seven birdies, but struggled on the back and finished with a 2-under-par 69. He's at 11-under 202 and tied for 10th, five strokes behind leader and defending champion Bo Van Pelt.
"Just one of those things," said Woods. "The back nine I made too many mistakes. I made too many bad decisions and bad swings."
Playing on another scorching day with Ben Crane, Woods burned up the front nine with birdies at 1, 3, 5, 6 and 8 to make the turn in 5-under 30. The birdie at the fifth hole lifted him into a share of the lead, but he faltered on the final nine.
After failing to birdie the par-5 11th, Tiger bogeyed the par-4 12th hole, where he missed the green to the left with his approach shot and failed to convert a six-foot putt. Woods rebounded quickly by sinking a 17-foot uphill birdie putt at the 422-yard, par-4 13th, then his round unraveled.
At the 194-yard, par-3 14th, Tiger came up a club short and the ball rolled back down a slope into a fronting water hazard and he suffered a double-bogey. After a disappointing par at the 292-yard, par-4 15th, Woods bogeyed the 185-yard par-3, 16th, where his tee shot found a back bunker and he was unable to get up and down.
Looking for a strong finish, Tiger dropped another shot at the 523-yard, par-5 17th. He drove into the left rough, knocked his second shot into the left rough, and faced a tough, sidehill lie for his third shot. Woods hit a wonderful sand wedge six feet below the cup, but missed his birdie attempt, then carelessly lipped out his par putt from just inside two feet.
At the par-4 18th, Tiger hit his approach shot over the green, left his chip shot 15 feet short of the hole and drained the putt to salvage a par.
As a result, Woods will need to post a great round and receive some help from his fellow competitors to mount a charge on Sunday.
"I gotta shoot a low one and hope for the best," he said. "I need to shoot something really low. That might not even do it."