ROCHESTER — World number one Tiger Woods and second-ranked Phil Mickelson sputtered across Oak Hill on Saturday in the third round of the PGA Championship, dooming dreams of a title fightback.
Mickelson, coming off a British Open triumph three weeks ago, hit a spectator with an errant shot and was four-over on the front nine on Saturday and six over for the tournament, although a birdie at the 12th lifted his spirits.
Woods, a 14-time major champion who has not won a major since the 2008 US Open, made bogeys at the first and third holes, but found only 3-of-7 fairways on the front nine, spending plenty of time in the thick rough where he spent much of the first two days at the year’s final major tournament.
A week after taking his fifth title of the year at a World Golf Championship event, Woods was two over for the day after 10 holes and three over overall at the $8m tournament.
Woods was in the left rough off the first tee and left a long par putt just short of the hole. At the par-3 third he popped a birdie chip across the green 12 feet past the cup and missed his bid for par.
Woods lipped out on a 20-foot birdie putt at the seventh and grinded out pars on the next few holes as well, but was 12 strokes off the pace.
While he has shined in regular PGA Tour events, Woods has struggled in the majors, a shadow of his once dominant form, and Woods has never won a major when he was not leading after 54 holes.
He had never been beaten in a major when leading after 54 holes until South Korea’s Yang Yong-Eun came from two back on the final day to beat Woods by three strokes at the 2009 PGA Championship at Hazeltine.
Woods recorded his second-worst 72-hole finish as a professional at Oak Hill in the 2003 PGA Championship with a share of 39th.
Woods made the turn in a share of 50th, although he ended a streak of 12 tournament holes without a birdie by sinking his first of the day, a 12-footer at the par-3 11th.
Mickelson birdied the third but lipped out on a 3-foot bogey putt at the par-5 fourth and took a triple bogey 7 at seven after finding the trees and rough.
Another bogey came at the ninth although he escaped a rough to rough approach and more disaster at the 11th by sinking a long par putt.