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Tiger Woods falters in Australian Open, loses lead

November 12, 2011 | 12:31 am


Tiger Woods, leading a tournament for only the second time this year, surrendered the lead by starting with three consecutive bogeys and stumbling his way through the third round of the Australian Open on Saturday in Sydney.

Woods began the day at The Lakes golf course with a one-shot lead but managed only two birdies after his three-bogey start to finish the round at three-over 75. The former No. 1-ranked player in the world, who last won nearly two years ago at the Australian Masters before his marriage and game were torn apart in a sex scandal, is six shots behind leader John Senden.

“I just got off to an awful start,” said Woods, one of eight Americans playing the Australian Open in preparation for the Presidents Cup next week at Royal Melbourne. “The round should have been an easy 71, no problem. I played the par-fives bad, I didn't take care of [No.] 13. But if I take care of the par-fives and make a couple of putts, it's a one- or two-under round. But I made nothing today.”

Woods is unlikely to end the longest drought of his once-storied career, which includes 14 major championships, since he has won a tournament only once when trailing by six shots or more going into the final round -- nearly 14 years ago in Thailand.

“I need to play good on that front nine. Anything can happen on the back nine,” Woods said. “If I can just play a good, solid front nine and get things going on the back nine, they have some easy holes on the back nine. If I can shoot some low scores, I'll be right there.”

Senden, who won the Australian Open five years ago at Royal Sydney, birdied his last two holes to finish off a round of nine-under 63, giving him a one-shot lead over Jason Day, who celebrated his 24th birthday with a 68.

Greg Chalmers had a 67 to move to within two shots of the lead. He's followed by Nick O'Hern (66) and Nick Watney (68) another shot back.


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--Dan Loumena

Wire services contributed to this report.

Photo: Tiger Woods looks for a wayward shot on the 11th hole at The Lakes golf course on Saturday in Sydney. Ryan Pierse / Getty Images