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July 21, 2013

Westwood gets another shot at winning a major

(Continued)

He was plenty good on another warm, sunny afternoon on a course that was noticeable softer but no less demanding.

Woods lost his chance to get in the final group with one swing.

Tied with Westwood as they played the par-5 17th into a stiff breeze off the Firth of Forth, Woods tried to hit 3-wood over a series of bunkers to allow for a simple wedge into the green. With his ball on the slightest slope, he got it up in the air just enough that the wind grabbed it and deposited the ball in the bunker. Woods had to blast out sideways and missed a 15-foot par putt.

Woods twice had at least a share of the 36-hole lead in majors a year ago and fell out of contention on Saturday. Despite the late bogey, he did well enough this time that he was only two shots behind. This is his best chance to end his five-year drought in the majors since the upheaval in his personal life at the end of 2009.

And while he has never won a major when trailing going into the last day, the outlook didn’t look bleak from his vantage point.

“I’m only two back,” Woods said. “There’s only one guy ahead of me.”

Instead of playing with Westwood in the final group, Woods will be in the penultimate group with Masters champion Adam Scott, who had a 70. The Australian not only is poised to be the first player with a multiple-major season in seven years, he can atone for his meltdown a year ago at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.

“I go out there tomorrow not carrying the weight of the lead or not having won a major,” Scott said. “So it’s a different feeling.”

Mahan made only two bogeys, and he avoided a third on the final hole when he made a 25-foot putt to save par from the bunker. He played with Mickelson in the final round at Merion and stayed in the game until late in the round, closing with a 75. One month later, he gets another crack at it.

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