Molinari continues rise up US PGA Championship leaderboard

Molinari continues rise up US PGA Championship leaderboard

And it was only good for a one-shot lead over Kevin Kisner. Koepka is not just strong and long, though; he's straight off the tee and a sound putter, and he showed off an array of touchy shots at Bellerive's greens, taking full advantage of a golf course that was so yielding that it felt bed soft and spongy underfoot.

Nothing against Francesco Molinari, but had it not been for his playing competitor, Woods, being in the hunt on Sunday, the British Open might have had the worst of the three 2018 major finishes. He bounced back immediately moments later at the par-3 sixth, hitting a brilliant cut shot to inside of 10 feet to set up his third birdie of the day.

But it was hard afterward to not wonder if Woods left a few opportunities on the Bellerive Country Club course Saturday afternoon that would have made the task a tad easier during the final round of the PGA Championship. He shot 4-under 66 to reach 8 under. American Brooks Koepka leads at 12-under, with Tiger Woods looming at eight-under after a second consecutive rounds of 66.

"It's not necessarily physical", Woods said.

"Hopefully I can go out and keep playing the way I am, and if I keep playing the way I am, you never know where that will leave me tomorrow afternoon".

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Earlier, Koepka brought Bellerive to its proverbial knees with five birdies in an outward half of 30 strokes. Frankly, everything about this golf tournament in the St. Louis Cardinals' backyard was supposed to be for the birds.

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"They have been unbelievable", Woods said of the fans.

He has not made a putt of longer than 17 feet over three days, and has only made five putts of more than 10 feet all week.

"I didn't know", Koepka said. "I thought if I didn't pull it off and hit the tree, I'd be somewhere down into the trees and still be able to make five". He settled for a 4-under 66 and a two-shot lead over Adam Scott going into the final round of the final major of the year. He'll play in the final group after posting the round of the day, 65, with birdies on two of his last three holes. He led by five shots at one point, but successive bogeys on the back nine stalled his momentum. But it came to a dead halt on the back nine as he settled for nothing but pars.

This year? He ranks 120th in back-nine scoring average on the PGA Tour, and is tied for 10th over the front nine.

Woods is still seven shots back of the leader Gary Woodland, but he's got most of his round yet to play.

The 25-year-old is without a win since victory in the Open at Royal Birkdale last year and 12 months on there would be no repeat at Carnoustie, where he went into the final round with a share of the lead but stumbled to a closing, birdie-free 76. He not only changed shirts this time, he changed colors - from a gray-and-white striped design early in the round to royal blue from the fifth hole on. Woods resumed on the eighth hole, where he had a wedge shot from 70 yards that he knocked close for a birdie.

"I can think of plenty of people along the way telling me I'll be nothing", he had said the other day, "working at McDonald's, doing things like that".

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