(CNN)Saturday is known as moving day at major golf tournaments. The problem for Tiger Woods he moved backwards as the optimism generated by his fine play at the opening two rounds of the Quicken Loans National rapidly disappeared.
Tiger Woods slides down the field at PGA Tour event
The former world number one started his third round just three shots off the pace amid hopes he could make a serious challenge after recent disappointments, including missing the cut at the British Open.
A third round three-over-par 74 has put paid to that.
It left the 39-year-old nine behind leaders Troy Merritt and Kevin Chappell, who are on 14-under-par, and in a tie for 42nd place.
Rickie Fowler is third on 13-under as he looks to add to his two tournament wins this season.
How Woods could have done with the inspiration found by Merritt, who carded an 10-under-par course record 61 on the Robert Trent Jones course in Virginia.
But for a bogey six on the eighth and a last hole putt which lipped out, he might have broken the magical 60 mark and set an even stiffer task for the later starters.
Woods was wayward off the tee from the start, spraying his drives on either side of the fairway and it was only miraculous recovery play which saw him level par for the day until dropping a shot on the eighth.
Further shots went when he double bogeyed the short 11th and bogeyed the 13th, but Woods at least showed his famed fighting qualities with back-to-back birdies on the 15th and 16th, where he nearly made an ace.
After finding the water hazard on the final hole, Woods played an incredible recovery shot from near the grandstand to salvage a bogey and at least finish on a high note.
The 14-time major winner will hope to refind the more consistent form which saw him card a 68 and 66 in the opening two rounds as he bids to improve his position in the FedEx Cup standings.
Woods is currently down in 189th position, with only the top 125 qualifying for the lucrative end of season tournaments.
Meanwhile, the British Women's Open at Turnberry looks set for an exciting final day with a clutch of players still in contention at the major.
Ko Jin-Young of South Korean and Chinese Taipei's Teresa Lu lead the way on eight under after both shot three-under 69s in variable conditions at the Scottish links course.
Overnight leader Suzann Pettersen of Norway endured a frustrating day to card a level-par 72 to stand one back after three rounds.
Mika Miyazato of Japan is six-under, with an impressive three-strong group, of world number one Inbee Park, teenage star Lydia Ko of New Zealand and Australia's Minjee Lee, all on five-under-par.
Ko Jin-Young, a four-time winner on the Korean Tour, is playing her first major, had never been to Scotland before and only had one practice round.
"Today was a really good score and I never thought I would be leading such a big tournament," said the 20-year-old surprise packet.