AUGUSTA, Georgia: Tiger Woods got off to a brilliant start at the Masters.

Tigers quest for sixth Masters - Tiger’s quest for sixth Masters title will have to wait
Tiger Woods AFP PHOTO

The defending champion couldn’t keep it going.

That pursuit of a sixth green jacket will likely have to wait until April..

Woods made a birdie on his 10th hole of the opening round to reach 4-under par. He played the next 44 holes in just 1 under, leaving him 11 shots off the lead heading to the final round.

After 19 months as the Masters champ, Woods will apparently be putting the green jacket on another player on Sunday (Monday in Manila).

“I was focused on trying to get myself in contention going into tomorrow,” Woods said. “We’ll see how emotional it’ll be after tomorrow’s round.”

Woods needed a big move in the third round but was stuck in neutral. He didn’t make a birdie until the 12th hole, and that was after he took a pair of bogeys. He wound up with an even-par 72 to remain 5 under.

Woods is one shy of Jack Nicklaus’ record of six Masters titles.

NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT

Justin Thomas couldn’t say enough nice things about how he played in the third round of the Masters.

He just didn’t have the score to match.

“That’s probably what’s most frustrating is I hit the ball so flush,” he said after shooting a 71 on Saturday (Sunday in Manila). “I hit a lot of shots exactly how I wanted. Just one of those days where stuff didn’t go my way.”

Thomas was 3 under for the day before bogeying the 14th hole. On No. 15, he went over the green with his second shot and the ball rolled into the water; he chipped to within 8 feet, but two-putted to fall to 1 under for the round and walked away shaking his head.

“As soon as it flew the green, I knew it was gone,” he said. “If there’s no water there, it’s a perfect 6-iron. … If that ball lands on the edge of the green, it’s going to stay up. But it wasn’t a good golf shot.”

At 10 under par, six strokes behind Dustin Johnson, Thomas is in the second-to-last threesome to tee off on Sunday.

But before then, he had some work to do.

“I know one thing is I can’t make four bogeys on the back nine if I expect to win this golf tournament,” he said Saturday night. “So I’ve got about 20 minutes of daylight left here, so go hit some putts and try to figure something out and shoot really low tomorrow.”

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