Tiger Woods was today battling to remain in contention for the Open Championship during a dramatic final round at Royal Lytham.
Woods has not won a major title since the US Open in 2008 and his chances of ending that streak looked to have disappeared with a triple-bogey seven on the sixth. After five straight pars kept him on the heels of leader Adam Scott, Woods's approach to the found a semi-plugged lie in a steep-faced bunker.
Woods thought about playing out backwards or sideways before eventually attempting to blast straight out onto the green, but saw the ball come back off the face of the hazard and almost hit him. The former world number one then had to lie outside the bunker to play his fourth shot, which also caught the bank but squirted out to the front of the green, from where he three-putted.
It was the first time Woods had dropped more than one shot on a hole this week, not to mention his first triple bogey in a major since the first hole of his opening round at Sandwich in 2003. In typical fashion, Woods hit back by chipping in for birdie from the back of the green on the par-five seventh, but dropped another shot on the ninth to be out in 37.
At three under par he was now six shots behind Scott, who was two over for the day and three-putted for par from the back of the seventh after his ball had moved as he pondered his third shot.
Fortunately Scott had not been addressing the ball at the time, but after checking with a rules official he ran his first putt 10ft past the hole and missed the return.
All that meant Scott maintained the four-shot lead with which he had started the round, with Graeme McDowell now alone in second after Brandt Snedeker fell away with back-to-back double bogeys on the seventh and eighth.
Woods birdied the 12th after a superb tee-shot to five feet, while it was McDowell's turn for some drama in the group behind. The former US Open champion tried to reach the green in two on the 598-yard par-five, but hooked his second shot deep into some bushes and was unable to find his ball within the allotted five minutes.
In the end he did well to escape with a bogey six after hitting his fourth shot just short of the green, but was now six behind playing partner Scott, who made a regulation par.