Tiger Woods’ bid to win a third title of the year suffered a setback at Congressional Country Club today as he bogeyed the opening hole of his third round at the AT&T National in Maryland.
Woods, the host of this Washington DC area tournament, had begun the day at 10 under par with a one-stroke halfway lead over Australia’s Rod Pampling with defending champion Anthony Kim in third place at eight under.
Playing in the final group out at the par-70 Blue Course and in front of big crowds celebrating American Independence Day, the world number one immediately hit trouble, finding left rough off the tee at the 402-yard, par-four first hole.
His second shot failed to reach the green, landing in more rough between fairway and bunker and his third shot left him with a 10-foot par putt which Woods did not convert, tapping in for bogey to fall into a shared lead with Pampling at nine under.
Pampling then moved into the outright lead with a birdie at the par-four third to go to 10 under, one shot ahead of Woods, who won the Bay Hill and Memorial tournaments earlier this year.
Kim also got off to a bad start with a bogey at the opening hole but he bounced back with a birdie on the third to return to eight under, a shot behind the leaders.
Kim was one shot clear of fellow American Bryce Molder, one under for the day after three holes, and New Zealander Danny Lee, playing just his eighth tournament as a professional, who was two under for his round after five holes having chipped in from greenside intermediate rough for birdie at the par-three second.
US Open champion Lucas Glover was at six under for the week after five holes of his third round and in a tie for sixth with Jim Furyk and 50-year-old Michael Allen, who had played three and eight holes respectively.
Molder also had one eye on an exemption into the Open Championship at Turnberry in two weeks, the AT&T National being the sixth and final event in a series of tournaments from which the top two money winners not previously exempt earn a pass into the third major of the year.
Molder was lying in fifth place, around $20,000 (€14,300) out of second place held by US Open runner-up Ricky Barnes and with the players between them having missed the cut.
Barnes struggled to a five-over-par 75 to fall to seven over while series leader Paul Goydos, with a $170,000 (€121,000)-plus lead over Barnes, hit a 74 to drop to five over.
England’s Brian Davis also shot a 74 to slip to six over while Scotland’s Martin Laird continued his tournament-leading accuracy off the tee but struggled with his short game and slumped to a 76, seven over for the week.