Tiger Woods plays out of a bunker at the Hero World Challenge

Tiger Woods dropped down the leaderboard as he struggled in round three at the Hero World Challenge

Former world number one Tiger Woods faded from contention in his comeback at the Hero World Challenge with a three-over 75 in the third round.

After two impressive rounds, the 41-year-old American struggled in a strong breeze, dropping four shots in seven holes before a further bogey on 10.

The 14-time major winner rallied with the putter late on, making birdies at 14 and 17 to move back to four under.

He is 10 behind Charley Hoffman, who extended his lead to five with a 70.

American Hoffman, 40, is now 14 under and his nearest challengers at Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas are his compatriot Jordan Spieth and England’s Justin Rose.

Race to Dubai winner Tommy Fleetwood was on nine under heading to the last but made a double-bogey to drop into a five-way tie for fifth at the 18-strong invitational tournament, which benefits Woods’ charitable foundation.

Woods wobbles in the wind

High winds made scoring difficult for the entire field on Saturday, but Woods was particularly erratic early on, missing the fairway with his opening tee shot before a poor chip and a missed putt from 12 feet for par.

More indifferent chips led to bogeys on the third, sixth and seventh holes, while a weak second shot on 10 left him with too much to do to save par.

However, he rolled in a tough 10-foot putt for birdie on 14, taking off his cap and bowing to the crowd, before a superb tee shot on the par-three 17th set up a second birdie.

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“Anything that I did right ended up in a bad spot and everything I did wrong was really bad,” said Woods, who is playing his first tournament after nine months out with a back injury.

“It’s ridiculous it took me 14 holes to make a birdie – it’s just one of those days.

“I’ve missed the fight. Getting out there and competing, fighting against the golf course and the rest of the guys – it’s so much fun. I missed doing this.”

Hoffman was unable to match his second-round 63, but still managed six birdies thanks to another fine putting display.

Bogeys at the first and eighth and a double bogey at the 10th prevented him building a more substantial lead, but only Daniel Berger in tied 16th matched Hoffman’s two-under 70 as the round of the day.

Rose will look to make a charge on Sunday after staying in contention with a one-under 71, as will Spieth following a level-par 72.

News Reporter

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