Woods challenge fades as Hoffman extends lead

2 December 2017 23:42

Tiger Woods' challenge faded in a disappointing third round on his comeback as Charley Hoffman stretched his lead to five shots in the Hero World Challenge.

Woods topped the leaderboard for a short time after making an excellent start to the second round of his return to competitive action following 10 months out after undergoing a fourth back operation.

The legendary American went in the wrong direction on moving day, though, dropping from a share of fifth spot to tied for 10th on four under with a three-over 75 at the Albany Golf Course.

Woods struggled as the wind picked up on the front nine, hitting the turn in 40 after four bogeys in his first seven holes, but made birdies at the 14th and 17th before coming agonisingly closer to a third at the last after dropping another shot at the 10th.

The 14-time major champion set the tone with a bogey at the first after pulling left and dropped another shot at three following a poor approach shot and a misjudged chip.

Things went from bad to worse as he dropped further strokes at six and seven and was five over through 12 when he missed a long putt for par, but doffed his cap and took a bow following a well-judged putt for a first birdie at the 14.

Tournament host Woods sunk another birdie putt from inside 10 feet at the penultimate hole and had to settle for par at 18 when a lengthy birdie putt went just past the left edge.

"Anything I did right ended up in a bad shot and anything I did wrong was really bad, it's just one of those days," said Woods. "You've got to keep fighting, that's one thing I've always done in my career and try and post the best score I possibly could. Today was a lot and it's just unfortunate it ended that way.

"It's ridiculous it took me 14 holes to make a birdie, at that time I've already played four par fives and nothing happened. It's one of those days, I fought through it and well, tomorrow is another fight."

Hoffman will take a commanding lead into the final round following a two-under 70, his worst round of the week but in more challenging conditions.

The American made three birdies in the last five holes after the blow of a double-bogey at the 10th, ending the day on 14 under with Justin Rose and Jordan Spieth in a share of second spot.

Francesco Molinari is six shots off the pace following a one-under 71, while two double bogeys on the back nine saw Tommy Fleetwood drop back to seven under along with Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed, Matt Kuchar and defending champion Hideki Matsuyama.

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