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AUGUSTA, Ga. — Tiger Woods walked off Augusta National on a perfect Saturday morning with a real shot to win another Masters and defend the green jacket he won 19 months earlier. He just completed his second round, the one halted by darkness the night before, with seven pars and a birdie to keep himself in range of the leaders.

Between the time he finished his second round and started his third — a little more than an hour — everything changed. His game soured. His back stiffened. His dream of a 16th major title disappeared.

He could do nothing but watch as the lead pack distanced themselves, all but guaranteeing Woods will be slipping the green jacket on somebody else Sunday afternoon.

Here’s how it happened:

No. 1: Par 4, 445 yards

Tiger Woods wiggles free of trouble at the first hole after his opening tee shot in the third round finds the fairway bunker. Navigates an opening par. With the top 3 players in the world among the co-leaders, he’s going to have to go low to stay in the game.

Nick Pietruszkiewicz, ESPN.com5h ago

Score: Par

Total for the third round: Even

Score for the tournament: 5 under

No. 2: Par 5, 575 yards

Two tee shots, two fairway bunkers for Tiger Woods. And this one was costly, because he walks off the second hole with a par. That’s giving one away at the par 5, which will yield a lot of birdies — and even a few eagles — as this day progresses.

Nick Pietruszkiewicz, ESPN.com5h ago

Score: Par

Total for the third round: Even

Score for the tournament: 5 under

No. 3: Par 4, 350 yards

Different strategy for Tiger Woods at the third. Went driver for the first time this week instead of iron off the tee. Still couldn’t turn it into birdie because of so-so pitch. He’s going to have to convert some of these to remain in the mix because Rahm, DJ, JT, etc. aren’t going to stand still when they get out here.

Nick Pietruszkiewicz, ESPN.com5h ago

Score: Par

Total for the third round: Even

Score for the tournament: 5 under

No. 4: Par 3, 240 yards

Solid up-and-down after a bad break off the tee at the long par-3 fourth. His ball caught the front slope and took off over the back of the green. But nice touch gets the par he came for on No. 4. Would like another par on monstrous fifth.

Nick Pietruszkiewicz, ESPN.com5h ago

Score: Par

Total for the third round: Even

Score for the tournament: 5 under

No. 5: Par 4, 495 yards

A year later, Tiger seems to have figured out the lengthened par-4 fifth hole. Last year, bogey-bogey-bogey-bogey. This year, par-par-par.

Nick Pietruszkiewicz, ESPN.com4h ago

Score: Par

Total for the third round: Even

Score for the tournament: 5 under

No. 6: Par 3, 180 yards

The par train rolls on for Tiger Woods. A two-putt par at the sixth for his, well, sixth consecutive par.

Nick Pietruszkiewicz, ESPN.com4h ago

Score: Par

Total for the third round: Even

Score for the tournament: 5 under

No. 7: Par 4, 450 yards

If I’m Tiger Woods or Rickie Fowler, I’d avert my eyes any time Billy Horschel is putting. He has four three-putts in seven holes.

Nick Pietruszkiewicz, ESPN.com4h ago

Tiger Woods has to work harder than he’d like for par at the seventh after his approaches slips just a bit left of the green. But he rolls in another par.

Nick Pietruszkiewicz, ESPN.com4h ago

Score: Par

Total for the third round: Even

Score for the tournament: 5 under

No. 8: Par 5, 570 yards

Tiger Woods with a crushing bogey at the easy par-5 eighth hole. Unless he gets hot in a hurry, those hopes of defending that Masters title are starting to become nearly impossible.

Nick Pietruszkiewicz, ESPN.com4h ago

Score: Bogey

Total for the third round: 1 over

Score for the tournament: 4 under

No. 9: Par 4, 460 yards

Tiger Woods with a par at the ninth to go out in 1-over 37. He will take the short walk to the 10th tee nine shots off the lead. Unless he goes silly low on the second nine, he will be nothing more than a spectator in Sunday’s green jacket ceremony.

Nick Pietruszkiewicz, ESPN.com3h ago

Score: Par

Total for the third round: 1 over

Score for the tournament: 4 under

No. 10: Par 4, 495 yards

Time to pay close attention to Tiger’s physical condition. He slowly bends down to pick up his tee following his drive at the 10th. Clearly something isn’t right.

Nick Pietruszkiewicz, ESPN.com3h ago

Tiger’s second shot at the 10th was about 30 yards off line — “Look at that mud ball,” he says — but it hits a tree and bounces to the edge of the green. Hey, the way this round is going and how stiff he seems, he’ll take whatever he can get.

Nick Pietruszkiewicz, ESPN.com3h ago

Score: Par

Total for the third round: 1 over

Score for the tournament: 4 under

No. 11: Par 4, 505 yards

Tiger with a bailout to the right at 11. You can tell he’s just trying to patch together a swing given how his body feels.

Nick Pietruszkiewicz, ESPN.com3h ago

Score: Bogey

Total for the third round: 2 over

Score for the tournament: 3 under

No. 12: Par 3, 155 yards

Tiger Woods hits a perfect tee shot at the beautiful par-3 12th and then rolls in his first birdie of the day. But, again, very, very slowly bends over to pick the ball out of the hole.

Nick Pietruszkiewicz, ESPN.com3h ago

Score: Birdie

Total for the third round: 1 over

Score for the tournament: 4 under

No. 13: Par 5, 510 yards

After a striped drive, Tiger Woods done in by another mud ball at the par-5 13th. Nothing he could but laugh after his low screamer misses the green.

Nick Pietruszkiewicz, ESPN.com2h ago

Score: Par

Total for the third round: 1 over

Score for the tournament: 4 under

No. 14: Par 4, 440 yards

Par for Tiger Woods at the 14th. The finish line is getting closer.

Nick Pietruszkiewicz, ESPN.com2h ago

Score: Par

Total for the third round: 1 over

Score for the tournament: 4 under

No. 15: Par 5, 530 yards

In the morning, when he was feeling better, Tiger Woods laid up at the par-5 15th from 248 yards out. This afternoon, even with a stiff back, he opts to go for it from 244 yards. Result both times: Birdie. Different strategies, same ending.

Nick Pietruszkiewicz, ESPN.com2h ago

Score: Birdie

Total for the third round: Even par

Score for the tournament: 5 under

No. 16: Par 3, 170 yards

Two-putt par for Tiger at No. 16. Two more holes left in this long, long day for him at Augusta National.

Nick Pietruszkiewicz, ESPN.com2h ago

Score: Par

Total for the third round: Even par

Score for the tournament: 5 under

No. 17: Par 4, 440 yards

Tiger Woods with another par, this one at 17. Heads for the home hole at even for the day and nine shots off the lead.

Nick Pietruszkiewicz, ESPN.com1h ago

Score: Par

Total for the third round: Even par

Score for the tournament: 5 under

No. 18: Par 4, 465 yards

After 26 holes on Saturday, Tiger Woods’ day is done. And his third round was not what he wanted — or needed. He posts even-par 72 and is miles off the lead. It’s all but guaranteed he will be putting the green jacket on someone else Sunday.

Nick Pietruszkiewicz, ESPN.com1h ago

Score: Par

Total for the third round: Even-par 72

Score for the tournament: 5 under

https://www.espn.com/golf/story/_/id/30315759/how-tiger-woods-hopes-defend-masters-title-came-likely-end

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