ST. LOUIS – Tiger Woods opened with back-to-back birdies in Saturday’s third round of the PGA Championship, leaping into the top 10 as he challenges for his first major victory in more than a decade.
The 14-time major champion, whose last major triumph came at the 2008 US Open, stood on six-under par after sinking a 17-foot birdie putt at the first hole and dropping his approach to four feet and holing out at the second.
He tapped in for par at the par-3 third.
The 42-year-old American’s sizzling start, after finishing off the last 11 holes of a second-round 66 on Saturday morning, put Woods into a share of ninth with leaders still to start their rounds at Bellerive Country Club.
Former world number one Woods, ranked 51st, is in the eighth month of a comeback from spinal fusion surgery, but led on Sunday in last month’s Open Championship.
Woods remained four strokes behind leader Gary Woodland, who was set to tee off in the final threesome with fellow Americans Kevin Kisner, one stroke off the pace, and US Open champion Brooks Koepka, who shared third with Rickie Fowler on eight-under.
Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy, whose morning 67 was highlighted by a 58-foot chip-in at 14, had two bogeys against a birdie at the second in the first five holes in round three.
American Tony Finau, who made the cut on the number on 140, matched Gary Player’s tournament record with 10 birdies in his second round, but only shot 66 thanks in part to a triple bogey at the par-3 sixth.