Bowditch in contention as Woods struggles

Australia’s Steven Bowditch fired a four-under 67 to finish within sight of the leaders after the third round of the PGA Quicken Loans National.

Bowditch’s round on Saturday included three successive birdies before his only bogey came on 17 as he moved into a share of 12th with New Zealand’s Danny Lee at 10-under 203.

The world No.62, who won the Byron Nelson Classic in May to clinch his second PGA Tour victory, is four shots behind equal leaders Troy Merritt and Kevin Chappell.

Fellow Australian Aaron Baddeley is a further six shots away on 203 after shooting one-over 72.

Merritt fired a tournament record 10-under 61 while Tiger Woods struggled and fell out of contention.

A 29-year-old American ranked 180th in the world, Merritt birdied the first five holes and finished with 11 birdies against a lone bogey in the third round at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club.

That left Merritt level with countryman Chappell atop the leaderboard on 14-under 199 after 54 holes with US star Rickie Fowler one stroke back.

“The big thing is we put ourselves in contention,” Merritt said. “I hit the ball really well and got a lot out of it. I think we’re going to have a decent chance.”

Fowler is coming off wins at the Players Championship in May and the Scottish Open three weeks ago while Merritt and Chappell each seek their first PGA title.

“I’m hitting the ball great,” Chappell said. “Shoot the lowest score tomorrow and I win. That’s the goal.”

The old tournament record of 62 was shared by Americans Hunter Mahan and Anthony Kim from 2009 at Congressional Country Club and Nick Watney from 2011 at Aroniminik.

Tournament host Woods sprayed shots all day on his way to a 74 to stand on 208, sharing 42nd after starting the day level fifth.

“Basically it was a fight all day,” Woods said. “Fought through it the best I could. I was hitting the ball left on the range warming up. Couldn’t quite get comfortable.”

Woods, a 14-time major champion who has not won a major since the 2008 US Open, is on a two-year win drought after struggling with injuries and swing changes the past two seasons.

Fowler fired a 68, highlighted by a 70-foot birdie putt at the par-3 fourth.

South Korea’s Kim Whee, Sweden’s David Lingmerth and Americans Charles Howell and Jason Bohn shared fourth on 201 with Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa, American Bill Haas, Sweden’s Carl Pettersson and defending champion Justin Rose of England on 202.

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