Swinging with metronomic precision, the two-times European Ryder Cup member was never in danger of being caught after a 50-foot eagle at the par-five 10th.

But Woods was just two shots out of second, a crucial difference as it relates to some of his other goals this year.

"Oh, it was frustrating because I played better than what my score indicates", said Woods, who began the third round four shots back.

Toms sank a 15-foot birdie on the par-3 16th hole to take the lead, then held on with a 20-foot downhill make after laying up from a fairway bunker on the 17th hole.

The leading four players in the top 12 and not already exempt secured qualification for The Open through the Open Qualifying series, with Armour, Kang, Ancer and Bronson Burgoon booking their spots for Carnoustie.

"I haven t done that, as I said, for the better part of two months, so that was nice, to make over 100 feet of putts twice this week".


"This entire week I've started the ball on line again and I'm starting to see it", he said. He won a World Golf Championship in Shanghai in 2010, though the PGA Tour did not recognize it as an official win.

"I know it's boring and everyone says the same but it's the way golf works".

And yet, with a new putter in the bag this week, Woods felt good about the improvement he made on the greens. I just drew on that.

Woods spent four days at TPC Potomac knocking down flagsticks with his precise iron play keeping him just on the edge of contention.

He finished the front nine with a strong putt, but then struggled in the back nine.

"It was nice to make a couple of birdies coming in, granted missed a little kick-in on 14", he said after another solid display since undergoing spinal fusion surgery past year.


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