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Tiger charges, but fades

POTOMAC, United State (AFP) – Tiger Woods, chasing his first vic­tory since 2013, charged early but faded late Saturday at the Quicken Loans National, finishing six strokes behind co-leaders Abraham Ancer and Francesco Molinari.

Tiger Woods hits out of the sand on the third hole during the third round of the Quicken Loans National golf tournament in Potomac, Md. (AP)

Tiger Woods hits out of the sand on the third hole during the third round of the Quicken Loans National golf tournament in Potomac, Md. (AP)

Woods, playing his 11th US PGA event in a comeback from spinal fusion surgery, made four birdies in a row and sank a 25-foot birdie putt at the ninth.

But Ancer matched the course record with a bogey-free eight-un­der par 62, his US PGA career-low score, to finish on 13-under 197, level with Italy’s Molinari after 54 holes at TPC Potomac.

A group after Ancer closed with a nine-foot birdie putt, 14-time major winner Woods found a bunker at 18 and missed an eight-foot par putt, taking his fourth bogey to shoot 68 and share 10th on 203.

‘‘It was frustrating because I played better than what my score indicates,’’ Woods said. ‘‘I figured I had to get to 10-under and wasn’t able to do it. Those four bogeys kind of ruined it.’’

Tournament host Woods, who hadn’t played in the event since 2015 due to back pain, is still contending for the first time since sharing second at Innisbrook and fifth at Bay Hill in March.

‘‘I’m going to have to shoot a low round to try to give myself a chance,’’ said Woods. ‘‘I would hope that it would be drier because it gives me a little better chance.’’

Everyone could face lightning-fast greens on Sunday as swelter­ing heat is expected to continue.

‘‘I don’t have a problem with my strength and my endurance,’’ Woods said. ‘‘It’s just a matter of keeping focus out here in this heat.’’

Woods, whose 79 career US PGA victories are three shy of Sam Snead’s all-time record, has not won a title since the 2013 WGC Bridgestone Invitational –a drought of 1,791 days in which 114 different rivals have taken victories.

If Ancer can make it 115, the $1.2 million top prize will eclipse his career $947,637 US PGA prize money.

World number 203 Ancer strug­gled in his 2016 rookie PGA sea­son and lost his tour spot, but regained it for this season and shared eighth at Houston for his top PGA finish.

‘‘It feels great. I played awe­some,’’ Ancer said.

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