TIGER WOODS emerged from a punishing fitness test with his hopes of a 15th Major title still alive.
But he will need still need to go into overdrive today to catch double US Open champion Brooks Koepka, who will start a hot favourite to land his second Major victory of the year.
AP:Associated Press Tiger Woods got the crowds at Bellerive excited with his third round 66 ROUND THREE LEADERBOARD
1. Koepka -12
2. Scott -10
T3. Rahm -9
T3. Fowler -9
T3. Woodland -9
T6. Woods -8
T6. Cink -8
T6. Day -8
T6. Thomas -8
T6. Lowry -8
T6. Schwartzel -8
At least Woods knows he can throw everything at Koepka, who is four clear of Tiger and holds a two-shot lead over second-placed Adam Scott.
If there were any problems with his back following his spinal fusion surgery they would surely have surfaced as he tackled 29 holes in energy-sapping 32C temperatures at Bellerive.
But he came through with flying colours. Despite missing a couple of short putts for par he managed to finish off his storm-delayed second round with a four under par 66 – his lowest round in the USPGA Championship for eleven years.
That was his best score since he fired a second round 63 on the way to the last of his four wins in this event in 2007.
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Getty Images – Getty The former world No 1’s long game was locked in but the putter deserted him on the back nine SUNDAY TEE TIMES (BST)
6.55pm – F.Molinari, Kisner
7.05pm – Schwartzel, Seri
7.15pm – Thomas, Lowry
7.25pm – Cink, Day
7.35pm – Woodland, Woods
7.45pm – Rahm, Fowler
7.55pm – Koepka, Scott
And he matched it in the third round 66, despite being rushed back onto the course after a short turnaround – and changing his short no fewer than four times as he lived up to his claim that he sweats more than anyone in golf!
Woods will also have to find a way to play the back nine at Bellerive with the same flair he has shown over the opening nine holes.
He is ten under par for the opening stretch, and two over for the homeward holes.
That discrepancy proved even more frustrating after his brilliant start to the third round. And a three-putt on the long 17th when he had less than 20 feet for eagle was a body blow.
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AP:Associated Press Woods changed his shirt four times in the stifling Missouri heat