Tiger Woods clawed his way back into contention at the AT&T National in Bethesda, Maryland on Friday, a three-under 68 giving him a two-under tally of 140 at the Congressional Country Club.

The former world number one is three shots adrift of fellow Americans Robert Garrigus (67) and Jimmy Walker (69) and Zimbabwe's Brendon de Jonge (69) who were setting the early pace in the clubhouse on 137.

Woods started on the back nine of the tough layout and opened with six straight pars before eagling the par-five 16th by sinking a 40-foot putt and celebrating with a trademark fist pump.

His excitement was tempered on the first where he carded a bogey five after finding the rough from the tee.

Despite a neat chip from the left rough rolling to six feet, Woods failed to save par.

A birdie putt from a similar length on the fifth did find the centre of the cup and then a precision wedge approach on the eighth to inside three feet allowed a tap-in birdie and a place inside the top 10 midway through the round. – Reuters