Fast fade for Woods at US Open

Tiger Woods's bid for a first major title in four years was in tatters Sunday as the former world No.1 played the first three holes in four-over par in the final round of the US Open.

Woods, already swimming upstream as he went into the final round five shots behind leaders Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell, opened with a bogey at the par-four first hole at The Olympic Club's Lake Course, where he was in the rough off the tee.

He bogeyed the second from a bunker, then missed the green at the par-three third and fired his shot out of the rough through the green en route to a double bogey.

A par at the fourth was but a brief respite before bogeys at the fifth and sixth.

By the time he rolled in a first birdie putt of the day, at the par-three eighth, Woods could only wave his hand dismissively -- his demeanour as gray as the thin fog drifting across the course from the Pacific Ocean.

A defiant Woods had insisted Saturday that he was still in the running for a record-equalling fourth US Open title, to go with those he won in 2000, 2002 and 2008.

That 2008 triumph in a playoff at Torrey Pines in San Diego was the last of his 14 major titles.

Since then his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 major victories has been stalled by injury, scandal and a re-modelling of his swing.

Two US PGA Tour victories this season, at Bay Hill and Memorial, had bolstered expectations, and Woods watchers were further encouraged when he seized a share of the halfway lead on Friday.

But by the time he made the turn Sunday at five-over -- nine-over for the tournament -- he seemed to have little to look forward to but a long afternoon coming in.

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