Tiger losing ground Down Under

2011-11-12 08:35

Sydney – Tiger Woods started out today in the lead at the Australian Open. Three bogeys later, he was trying to stay in the hunt.

Atop the leaderboard for the first time in nearly a year, Woods began the third round at The Lakes with three straight bogeys and only had one birdie on the front nine to fall three shots behind Jason Day of Australia.

Woods didn’t look terrible doing it.

His approach on the first went about a yard too long and tumbled over the side of the green, leaving him a tough chip that came out strong to about 15 feet.

With a strong breeze at his back, he went over the back of the second green and pitched 30 feet long. On the third, his drive just went into a sand dune and he came up short of the green. Facing a simple pitch, he was 15 feet long for another bogey.

Woods finally settled down with a 7-foot birdie on the fourth, and while he hit every fairway and green the rest of the front nine, he had to settle for pars and an outward 38.

Day surged into the lead with a birdie on the fifth, then hit driver off the deck to set up a birdie on the par-5 eighth and ended his front nine by holing a 40-foot birdie putt.

He was one shot ahead of John Senden, while Ryan Haller of Australia shot 65 to move to 7 under, two behind Day.

This week is the two-year anniversary of Woods’ last win at the Australian Masters in Melbourne.

The back nine at The Lakes is considered to be the easier because of three par 5s, all of them featuring shots over the water.

Woods was among eight Americans at the Australian Open tuning up for the Presidents Cup next week in Melbourne. Woods was tied with Bubba Watson at the turn, while Nick Watney was four shots behind.

Dustin Johnson was at 4 over for his day, no longer in contention.

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