DUBLIN, Ohio — Tiger Woods bounced back from an ugly-swing double bogey to birdie four of his final eight holes, posting a second consecutive 3-under-par 69 at the Memorial Tournament that left him eyeing his second top-10 finish this year.
It marked the first time the world's No. 1 player had broken 70 in back-to-back rounds this year, though yesterday marked just his 12th complete round since returning from a self-imposed absence to sort out the aftermath of his sex scandal.
But Woods found himself upstaged by Ricky Barnes, a former U.S. Amateur champion and U.S. Open runner-up whose 10-under 62 came up one stroke shy of the Memorial record. It also matched the lowest PGA Tour round ever carded by one of his playing partners.
Jim Furyk also shot a 62 while paired with Woods during the second round of the 1998 Doral-Ryder Open, as did Paul Goydos one year later at the Byron Nelson Classic.
Woods, who completed three rounds at 6-under 210, left Muirfield Village Golf Club without speaking to reporters. The round didn't get him much closer to the lead Rickie Fowler stood at 15-under with five holes to play.
Fowler eventually finished off his own 69, restoring the margin to 10 strokes heading into Sunday's final round.
"It looked like he played pretty well coming in," Barnes said of Woods' performance. "We were feeding a little off each other on the back nine."
Woods' only real blemish was a tee shot at No. 10 that immediately recalled his struggles at Quail Hollow and The Players Championship. Uncorking a vicious swing, Woods could only watch his drive sail well right and out of bounds. The result was a double bogey, erasing what at the time was his only birdie of the day.
Woods made up for it quickly, though, earning the strokes back with birdies on the next two holes. Both came on approach shots that stopped less than 6 feet from the pin though the second was delayed nearly two hours by the day's second storm delay. Another birdie came at the par-5 15th, where a fairway wood for his second shot wound up overshooting the green before chipping back within 3 feet. He also converted from a similar distance at No. 17.
Though tee times were compacted into threesomes and moved to early morning in an effort to beat a daylong line of storms, rain began pelting Muirfield Village about 20 minutes before the first groups were set to tee off.
With 37 players who made the cut scheduled to face 36-hole U.S. Open qualifiers on Monday, officials were making every effort to get the tournament finished on Sunday.