Tiger Woods almost certainly has only one more competitive round before the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor in three weeks’ time.
A third round 68 at the BMW Championship in Chicago today was the world number one’s best effort of the week so far, but he did not make the move he was looking for.
Wild card pick Woods, without a win all year, needs a top-five finish at worst to advance to the last leg of the FedEx Cup play-off series, the Tour Championship, in Atlanta in a fortnight.
But on level par after 54 holes he was in a tie for 22nd place and had to wait to see just how far behind it left him.
Fellow American Ryan Moore, eight under with six holes to play, led by one from compatriots Matt Kuchar and Dustin Johnson and also Korean Charlie Wi.
Justin Rose and Ian Poulter were joint sixth, only three behind Moore entering the closing stretch, while Paul Casey was four under and Luke Donald one further back.
Poulter, Casey and Donald were all playing together and Poulter’s birdies at the 10th and 11th still left him just outside the top 30 who will go through to the Tour Championship.
Donald, joint runner-up in the Deutsche Bank Championship on Monday, had slipped to sixth place on the points table, while Rose stood 11th and Casey 20th.