Woods falls of the grid at 10 back

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, Last Updated: 10:36 AM ET

Cheltenham, Australia - Victimized again by a balky putter, Tiger Woods labored to an even-par 71 and fell 10 shots off the lead Saturday at the JBWere Masters.

Woods finished his third round with a tap-in birdie at the 18th hole, a bright ending to another middling performance that was gloomy not just for the steady rain that fell on Victoria Golf Club.

The former world No. 1 finished 54 holes with almost no hope of defending the title he won 12 months ago.

Adam Bland also birdied the par-five closing hole to shoot a 70 and take a three-shot lead over fellow Australian Daniel Gaunt at 11-under 202.

"I struggled all day again and couldn't get putts to the hole," said Woods.

The flat stick is becoming a familiar culprit. Woods took 29 more strokes with his putter on Saturday, bringing his total to 93 for the week.

Statistically, he has improved each day on the greens after opening with 33 putts in the first round and taking 31 in the second. But that was little consolation for Woods, who is facing the first winless season of his 15-year career.

He captured last year's JBWere Masters less than two weeks before the post- Thanksgiving car accident that touched off revelations of his extra-marital affairs.

His personal life in a tailspin for much of the time since then, Woods hasn't hoisted another trophy. He lost his No. 1 ranking to Lee Westwood last week.

It was clear from the start of Saturday's round that Woods still hadn't located his putting stroke. He missed a short birdie try at No. 1 and suffered two three-putt bogeys in his first six holes.

He avoided another bogey when he blasted to tap-in range from a bunker at No. 5 to save par.

Woods' first birdie came after he knocked his tee shot to about 10 feet at No. 7, but he followed that with a bogey on the next hole. He drained a 12-footer for birdie at No. 9 to salvage a 36 on the front side of the course -- his worst score on those holes this week.

Woods nearly had another birdie at No. 12 when he left his long putt hanging on the edge of the cup.

You could hardly blame the effort.

The greens were saturated by a steady rain and water pooled in the fairways. Woods asked for the No. 14 green to be dried with a squeegee before he putted. He made par there -- one of eight consecutive pars before he ended the round with his two-foot birdie putt at the 18th.

It could have been worse. Sergio Garcia followed up a promising 65 in the second round with a 77 on Saturday that knocked the Spaniard 13 shots out of the lead.

Bland, who has held at least a piece of the lead after each round, collected four birdies and three bogeys. Among his birdies was a spinning approach shot that rolled back to within tap-in range at No. 9.

Gaunt made a short birdie putt at the 18th hole to shoot a 68 and move into second place alone at eight-under 205. Another Aussie, Andre Stolz, had a 72 and was third at seven-under 206.

Colombia's Camilo Villegas was the only non-Australian ahead of Woods on the leaderboard after shooting a 70 that kept him within nine shots of the lead.


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