Tiger Woods in hunt for Open title after third-round 66

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland -- Tiger Woods didn't realize his name was atop the leaderboard at The Open on Saturday.

But all of Scotland and most of the golf world did.

Woods stirred this remote Scottish town on a balmy afternoon, his name going to the top of the competitors in the 147th Open when he two-putted the 14th green for a birdie.

Given that Carnoustie was relatively benign during the third round and 32 players teed off behind him, it was inevitable that he would not stay there. But it was significant nonetheless.

"It would be, as you said, better on Sunday," said Woods, whose 5-under-par 66 was his first score in the 60s at The Open in 11 years. "But I'm right there. I've got a chance at this, which is great."

Playing at The Open for the first time since 2015, Woods birdied six of his first 14 holes to tie for the lead, a position he held for about 20 minutes before Kevin Kisner birdied No. 3. Woods then bogeyed the par-3 16th, getting a bad break off the tee and failing to get up-and-down from off the green.

It was his only bogey of the day, but the closing holes at Carnoustie are brutal. Woods was fortunate to avoid trouble at the 18th, where he hit his worst shot of the day and narrowly missed going into the burn off the tee. He managed to punch down the fairway then hit a 60-degree wedge from 83 yards to a few feet to save par.

"Just like the ones I've practiced in my backyard," he said, adding, "That was big for me just to not finish with two bogeys on the last three holes, playing as well as I did."

Woods trails  Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele and Kisner by four shots. He was hoping to not be too far back heading into the final round.

"It would be nice if there weren't a lot of guys between myself and the lead, but not the way this golf course was going to set up," Woods said. "We knew there were going to be 10, 12 guys with a chance to win on Sunday, and it's turning out to be that. I didn't want to be too far back if the guys got to 10 [under] today. So 5 [behind] is certainly doable, and especially if we get the forecast tomorrow."

There is a possibility of rain Sunday morning, followed by 20-25 mph winds in the afternoon.

Woods, who is playing in his 12th tournament this year after missing most of the past two seasons due to four back surgeries, opened the tournament with consecutive scores of par-71.

The 66 was his first round in the 60s on the weekend of an Open in 11 years, when he shot a Saturday 69 at Carnoustie. But it is in keeping with his Saturdays on the PGA Tour this year; he leads with a third-round scoring average of 68.44. It was also his lowest round in any major since shooting 66 in the second round of the 2011 Masters.

It is also the first time he has led at any point of a major since 2012, when he shared the 36-hole lead at the PGA Championship.

Woods played with a bit more urgency Saturday, hitting five drivers off the tee after hitting just five through the first two rounds. After saving par at the first hole with a 15-footer, Woods made birdies at the fourth, sixth and ninth holes to get through the first 9 in 33 strokes.

He added a kick-in birdie at the 10th and rolled in a 40-footer at the 11th before two-putting from long distance at the 14th.

If nothing else, Woods gave himself a boost heading into the final round.

"It certainly is possible," he said. "I've shown that I've been there close enough with a chance to win this year. Given what happened [the] last few years, I didn't know if that would ever happen again, but here I am with a chance coming Sunday in a major championship. It's going to be fun."