August 10, 2013 / 6:09 PM / 5 years ago

Woods struggles early as Oak Hill bares teeth

ROCHESTER, New York (Reuters) - Tiger Woods failed to make up any ground early in the penultimate round of the PGA Championship on Saturday as tougher conditions kept some of the game’s top players in check.

Tiger Woods of the U.S. tees off on the third hole during the third round of the 2013 PGA Championship golf tournament at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York August 10, 2013. REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger

Woods started the day 10 strokes behind overnight leader Jason Dufner and immediately fell further behind when he bogeyed the par-four first, missing the fairway to the left and failing to reach the green in regulation.

With Oak Hill’s East Course finally baring its teeth in the morning sunshine after rain earlier in the week opened the door to record-low scoring, Woods also bogeyed the third hole to reach the turn two-over for the round and three-over for the tournament.

Phil Mickelson, who captured his fifth major title at last month’s British Open, was also unable to shoot himself into contention after starting the round 11 shots off the pace.

Playing three groups ahead of Woods, Mickelson went four-over through his opening nine holes, including a triple-bogey at the par-four seventh.

Woods, who has failed to break par in six rounds of major championship play at Oak Hill, missed a birdie chance at the par-four second when his putt slid past the edge of the cup.

His tee shot at the par-three third landed on the green before slowly rolling off the front. After chipping well past the hole, he two-putted for his second bogey of the day.

He had another opportunity for a birdie at the par-four seventh but his putt curled around the cup, leaving him needing a big finish on the back nine to have any realistic chance of being in the mix on Sunday afternoon.

American Dufner, who reached the midway point of the year’s final major with a two-shot lead, was scheduled to tee off at 2:55 p.m. local time (1855 GMT) alongside Australian Masters champion Adam Scott.

Dufner was among several players who took advantage of the rain-softened conditions in Friday’s second round when heavy downpours gave way to sunny skies in the afternoon.

The 33-year-old had a chance to shoot the first 62 at any major but left a 12-foot uphill putt 18 inches short of the cup on his final hole.

He tapped in for par to become the 24th player to shoot a 63 in a major and his two-day 131 total tied the 36-hole PGA Championship record.

Scott was two shots off the pace, along with Americans Matt Kuchar and Jim Furyk, while U.S. Open champion Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson were a further shot back at six-under.

American Webb Simpson, who also flirted with a record-tying 63 on Friday before settling for a six-under-par 64, will tee off at 2:15 p.m. with Germany’s Martin Kaymer.

Reporting by Frank Pingue; Editing by Julian Linden

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