Tiger Tracker: Woods fires 3-under 69

Tiger Woods hits out of a bunker on the fourth hole during the third round of the Tiger Woods World Challenge.

Tiger Woods started fast, sputtered in the middle and finished strong to card his second consecutive 3-under 69 on Saturday at the Tiger Woods World Challenge, currently sitting in a tie for third at Sherwood Country Club.

Overnight leader Graeme McDowell fired a 4-under 68 to retain his lead, two shots in front of Keegan Bradley and five ahead of Woods.

"It's wet. It's long. And overall it's hard to get the ball close. You have to hit so much club to keep the spin off the ball," said Woods.

Woods fired the 69 without any birdies on the five par-5s on Saturday. He was 6 under on those holes over the first two days. He also bogeyed No. 8 for the third consecutive days.

"I think I'm like 15 over par on that hole this week," said Woods.

Keegan Bradley is in solo second after a 5-under 67 lifted him to 11 under.

See how it all unfolded on Saturday:

• • •

Hole No. 18, Par 4, 444 yards

That was a big birdie for Tiger, who has done all of his damage on par-3s and par-4s today. A birdie at 18 would give him his best round of the tournament thus far.

Off the tee: With a fairway wood, Tiger loves it right away and it finds the middle of the fairway, even running out a bit.

Approach shot: From just under 180 yards, Tiger hits a beautiful shot to about 15 feet behind the hole and it funnels back to about 6 feet for another look at birdie.

On the green: But Tiger can't convert on this one, not hitting it firm enough to hold the line and he settles for a par. He's five back of McDowell.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 3 under (8 under for tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: With a birdie at No. 16, Keegan Bradley is now just two back of Graeme McDowell. Bradley is 5 under on his round and 11 under overall.

• • •

Hole No. 17, Par 3, 166 yards

Tiger Woods could use another birdie over his last two holes to shoot a second consecutive 69 and get within five of the current lead. It seems as though he could use a bigger paycheck too, as the Associated Press is reporting that Tiger invested $4 million of his own money to cover tournament expenses.

Off the tee: With 9-iron in hand, Tiger hits a nice tee ball that lands about pin-high and rolls back to about 15 feet under the hole. Good look at birdie.

On the green: Buries another one and that's three birdies in his last four holes.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 3 under (8 under for tournament)

• • •

Hole No. 16, Par 5, 567 yards

Tiger's short game has returned the past two holes and he has two birdies to show for it. Another one here would be huge moving into Sunday.

Off the tee: Tiger takes 3-wood off the tee (the tee boxes were moved up for the third round) and laces it up the middle. Should be able to get after it in two.

Second shot: Tiger is a bit too far back and he decides to lay it up, but misses slightly to the right and gives himself a tough angle.

Approach shot: Tiger hits his worse wedge shot of the week from about 105 yards, sending it just off the back of the green and he'll have 40 feet back down the green for birdie.

Around the green: Putting from just on the fringe, Tiger puts perfect pace on it, but it comes to rest about 6 inches to the left of the hole and he picks up a par. He was 0-for-5 on the par-5s on Saturday, which is unheard of for Woods at Sherwood.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (7 under for tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: Bubba Watson has the round of the day thus far, carding a 5-under 67 to get to 4 under overall. Leader Graeme McDowell misses an opportunity at the par-5 13th and stays at 13 under, three ahead of Keegan Bradley. Bo Van Pelt is five back at 8 under, while Jim Furyk is tied with Tiger at 7 under.

• • •

Hole No. 15, Par 3, 189 yards

Clutch birdie from Tiger there, especially with a par 5 to come at the 16th hole. He now gets to his second-to-last par 3 of the day, one lined by rocks and water in front. Oh fun.

Off the tee: Tiger takes his time studying which club to take and plays a great shot to about 20 feet left of the hole. Hard to get it a lot closer.

On the green: And make it two in a row after Tiger puts a confident stroke on this one to move to 7 under overall.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (7 under for tournament)

• • •

Hole No. 14, Par 4, 455 yards

Tiger just can't seem to get anything going, with his short game letting him down a bit, with his approaches and putting really just looking average. He is now eight shots back of Graeme McDowell, who has moved to 13 under with a birdie at No. 11.

Off the tee: With a 3-wood in hand, Tiger splits the fairway, again landing soft and the ball making a little crater in the middle of the short stuff.

Approach shot: Easily his best shot of the day, hitting a fantastic approach from 165 yards about 8 feet past the hole and spinning it back to about a foot.

On the green: For the first time since No. 1, Tiger picks up a birdie to get within seven strokes.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (6 under for tournament)

• • •

Hole No. 13, Par 5, 568 yards

With the fairways being as wet as they are, this is not likely a green that many players can reach in two. Tiger still needs to walk away with a birdie to get his round going.

Off the tee: Tiger takes 3-wood off the tee and puts it right in the middle of the fairway and will actually be able to get after the green.

Second shot: Tiger does decide to go for it and he muscles a 3-wood up the left side that finds the rough about pin-high and up a slope. Should be a straightforward chip shot.

Around the green: Tiger plays a big flop shot and it settles about 15 feet to the left of the hole. Solid, but nothing special with that shot.

On the green: Tiger pulls his putt to the left and he picks up a par. That's four pars on the four par-5s thus far.

TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (5 under for tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: With a birdie at No. 11, Keegan Bradley moves to within two shots of McDowell. Bradley is 4 under on his round.

• • •

Hole No. 12, Par 3, 186 yards

That three-putt was basically like a bogey for Tiger at the 11th hole. He is now seven shots back of Graeme McDowell, who birdied No. 9 to get to 12 under.

Off the tee: With 8-iron, Tiger hits the green, but will have 40 feet from the left of the hole.

On the green: Tiger gives his birdie attempt a good run, but comes up about 18 inches short and settles for a par. He has a single birdie on the day (at No. 1).

TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (5 under for tournament)

• • •

Hole No. 11, Par 5, 517 yards

With three par-5s on the back-nine, Tiger will need to take full advantage of each of them as he needs to make up some ground, and quickly.

Off the tee: Tiger takes driver and rips a fade down the right side of the fairway. It should be go time.

Second shot: With just over 230 yards left to the hole, Tiger rips a fairway metal to pin-high and about 20 feet to the left. Good eagle look, which he needs desperately.

On the green: A very poor eagle putt that comes up about 6 feet short. Tiger thought the slope in the green was a bit slicker than it actually was. And then he blows the birdie attempt past on the left, settling for a three-putt par. That one will hurt.

TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (5 under for tournament)

• • •

Hole No. 10, Par 4, 359 yards

Tiger makes the turn with an even-par 36, the second time he has done that this week. He is 1 under on the front and 4 under on the back.

Off the tee: Another fairway hit for Tiger, splitting the middle.

Approach shot: From 105 yards, Tiger hits a nice wedge to about 12 feet right of the hole.

On the green: With his best look at birdie all day, Tiger can't get it to fall and he settles for yet another par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (5 under for tournament)

• • •

Hole No. 9, Par 4, 422 yards

That's three days in a row where Tiger's good round stalled at the par-3 8th hole. He moves to the 9th hole six shots back of Graeme McDowell. The 9th was the start of three consecutive birdies for Tiger on Friday.

Off the tee: Tiger takes iron off the tee and leaves it well back, but in the fairway.

Approach shot: From just over 200 yards, Tiger hits the middle of the green, but he'll have about 40 feet up the slope for a birdie. Just not getting his second shots close on Saturday.

On the green: Poor read from Tiger on his birdie putt, sending it about 4 feet past and well to the right. He drains it to stay at even for the day.

TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (5 under for tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: Rickie Fowler has made his way back to even on the day, playing dead even with his playing competitor, Tiger Woods. Bubba Watson has moved to 4 under overall after going 5 under through his first 13 holes.

• • •

Hole No. 8, Par 3, 228 yards

Tiger moves to a hole that he has bogeyed both days and really needs to avoid that as he is five shots off the lead with 29 holes to play.

Off the tee: With 4-iron in hand, Tiger misses the green to the right and will have an uphill chip to the hole.

Around the green: A bad chip from Tiger here, not even making it to the green. He nearly chips in the second one and settles for his first bogey of the day.

TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (5 under for tournament)

• • •

Hole No. 7, Par 4, 446 yards

That was an all-world scramble for par from Tiger on No. 6, really only a par that he could accomplish. But, he is now five shots back of Graeme McDowell and needs to start making a move.

Off the tee: Tiger is back in the fairway after his adventure on No. 6, but the ball buries in the soggy fairway. Still gets to lift, clean and replace.

Approach shot: Solid second shot that finds the second level of the green, but leaves himself 25 feet for birdie.

On the green: Tiger never gives his birdie attempt a chance, settling about 3 feet short and picks up a two-putt par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (6 under for tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: Keegan Bradley makes birdie at No. 6 to move to 9 under, two back of Graeme McDowell, who pars the par-5 5th hole.

• • •

Hole No. 6, Par 4, 422 yards

After that brilliant chip-in at the first, Tiger has simply played solid golf, running off four consecutive pars - including two on par-5s. He is T-3 currently. A third-place finish would vault him back to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Off the tee: Tiger's first bad swing of the day, pushing his drive way right. He releases the club right after impact.

Approach shot: After missing the fairway some 50 yards to the right, Tiger hits a booming shot from 170 yards that finds a bunker on the right side of the green. A good shot considering how poor his tee ball was.

Around the green: For the second consecutive hole, Tiger nearly holes out again, leaving this one about a foot short and settles for a par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (6 under for tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: Graeme McDowell is putting on quite the show, nailing a 25-footer at No. 4 to move to 11 under, three shots clear of Keegan Bradley.

• • •

Hole No. 5, Par 5, 531 yards

Tiger is four back again after Graeme McDowell buried a 20-footer for birdie on No. 2.

Off the tee: With driver in hand, Tiger hits a tree on the right side and will have no chance at getting after the green in two. The ball is right of the gallery ropes and sitting down in the rough.

Second shot: Tiger plays a low-liner in between trees and finds the middle of the fairway, right about at wedge length.

Approach shot: From 143 yards, Tiger hits it about 8 feet under the hole, but spins it back and will have 25 feet for birdie.

On the green: Perfect pace again, but settles 5 inches to the right of the hole and another par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (6 under for tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: Graeme McDowell pars the 3rd hole with a two-putt to stay at 10 under, two shots clear of Keegan Bradley.

• • •

Hole No. 4, Par 4, 456 yards

Scores are not as low on Saturday as they were on Friday, with five of the 18 players over par for their rounds.

Off the tee: Another fairway wood here and he smokes it into the fairway. Hitting the short grass is crucial today, as they are playing lift, clean and replace for the third consecutive day.

Approach shot: From 195 yards, Tiger pushes his approach to the right and into a long bunker that lines the right side of the green. Tiger hasn't had to mess with the bunkers much this week.

Around the green: Maybe he needs to find the sand more often, as he nearly holes out, leaving it about 6 inches from the cup. Easy par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (6 under for tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: Jim Furyk makes a long birdie putt at No. 2 to move to 7 under, two back of Graeme McDowell, who misses a short birdie putt at No. 1. Keegan Bradley birdies the par-3 3rd hole to move to within a shot of McDowell.

• • •

Hole No. 3, Par 3, 198 yards

As he has done each day, Tiger is 1 under thru the first two holes. Meanwhile, Rickie Fowler picked up double-bogey at No. 2 to fall seven shots back of McDowell.

Off the tee: Tiger chooses not to flirt with the water and bunker under the far-right pin location, putting it safely on the green, about 25 feet to the left of the hole.

On the green: Tiger puts perfect speed on it, but the ball stays left of the hole and he taps in for a second consecutive par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (6 under for tournament)

• • •

Hole No. 2, Par 5, 531 yards

Great way to start the day for Tiger, who is now three shots back of McDowell.

Off the tee: Nice driver from Tiger here, finding the right side of the fairway, but gets no carry, as the fairways are just too wet. Iffy whether he'll get after it in two. Meanwhile, Fowler hits his tee ball out of bounds and has to return to the tee for his third shot.

Second shot: Tiger's a bit too far away and decides to lay up, not taking a chance with the island green.

Third shot: A solid wedge shot that lands behind the hole, but the spin back takes it down a slope and he'll have 30 feet for birdie.

On the green: A nice putt, but comes up about 18 inches short and settles for a par. First par at No. 2 on the week.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (6 under for tournament)

Elsewhere on the course: Hunter Mahan has the hot hand early, as he is 3 under thru six holes to move to 3 under for the tournament. Keegan Bradley birdies No. 1 to get to 7 under and is alone in second place.

• • •

Hole No. 1, Par 4, 342 yards

Tiger is wearing dark grey slacks and a black vest, as temperatures are cool and the weather doesn't look to get any better. He should be able to attack pins today with the wet and receptive greens.

Off the tee: Tiger takes off the vest prior to his first tee ball, which is a fairway wood that finds the right side of the fairway. Third consecutive day with a fairway wood at the opening hole.

Approach shot: From about 110 yards, Tiger attacks the back pin and carries it about a yard too far, finding the back rough. Sitting up somewhat nicely though. He yells at himself a bit after that one.

Around the green: Might have missed the green, but he picks up a birdie anyways, calmly chipping in his third shot. Big smiles there and his first birdie at No. 1 for the week.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (6 under for tournament)

• • •

Update #1: 1:32 p.m. EST

Sherwood Country Club is even wetter than the first two rounds and there is a steady drizzle greeting the 12 players on the course currently. The forecast is calling for temperatures in the very low 60s and high 50s, with a consistent 20 percent chance of showers all afternoon. Needless to say, the greens will be receptive and slow.

• • •

Second-round coverage

THIRD-ROUND TEE TIMES: Graeme McDowell and Bo Van Pelt will be in Saturday's final pairing at the World Challenge, while Tiger Woods will play with Rickie Fowler. Tee times.

TIGER FIRES 69: Tiger Woods fired an 3-under 69 on Friday at the 18-player Tiger Woods World Challenge, but sits four shots back of 2010 champion Graeme McDowell, who shot a 6-under 66. See how it happened.

5 THINGS: Graeme McDowell separated himself from an impressive pack with a brilliant back-nine on Friday at the Tiger Woods World Challenge, firing a 6-under 66 to take a three-shot advantage over three players after 36 holes. Story.

• • •

First-round coverage

SECOND-ROUND TEE TIMES: Leader Nick Watney will play with Keegan Bradley on Friday at the Tiger Woods World Challenge, while the host will play 18 holes with Bo Van Pelt. Tee times.

TIGER FIRES 70: Tiger Woods points to his victory at the World Challenge as what led him to three PGA Tour victories in 2012. He started his title defense with a 2-under 70 in Thousand Oaks, Calif. See how it happened.

GLOBETROTTER: Graeme McDowell fired a solid 3-under 69 on Thursday, but he says about 10 percent of his golf vigor is gone right now. He's a bit spent after a hectic 12-week stint during which he played in Dubai, China and the U.S. A 10-week break should fix that. Story.

• • •

Preview coverage

TEE TIMES, PAIRINGS: With the Tiger Woods World Challenge slated to begin on Thursday morning in southern California, here is a look at the first round tee times and pairings. Story.

RELIEVED: Matt Kuchar didn't know if his unique stroke would be banned or not, but was all smiles on Wednesday after the R&A and USGA said his putting technique is fine moving forward. Story.

WEIGHING IN: As victories go, Tiger Woods was more than happy to talk about the one that served as a bridge from a forgettable part of his career to something he’s more accustomed to. Story.

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