TULSA - After narrowly making the cut a defiant Tiger Woods headed out for his third round at the PGA Championship at rainy Southern Hills on Saturday still believing he had a chance to hoist the Wanamaker trophy.

But reality quickly struck home as any glimmer of a miracle charge dimmed with a dismal front nine blotted by a triple-bogey. After taking his third bogey of the day at the ninth a dejected Woods gave a half-hearted wave to the cheering gallery and trudged off to the 10th tee now 18 shots adrift of leader Will Zalatoris.

Sitting 12 off the pace at the start of play the task facing Woods already looked impossible but the 46-year-old American has made a career of defying the odds, including his latest comeback from a car crash 15 months ago that nearly cost him his right leg.

“Hopefully I can post a good round and at least move up the board, get myself within striking distance on Sunday,” said Woods, at the end of Friday’s second round. “I’m pretty far back, but you just never know. “You just never know when you might get hot.”

Neither the 15-time major winner or the weather were hot on Saturday as golfers were greeted by chilly temperatures after thunderstorms and rain delayed the start of play by more than a half hour. Woods, in his second start following his comeback last month at the Masters where he also made the cut, saw any chance of a rally fizzle with an outward nine as dreary as the weather.

A bogey at the second was followed by a triple-bogey six at the par-three sixth after finding the water with his tee shot. The slide continued with another bogey at seven and one more at nine. Tough conditions are expected to worsen at Southern Hills by the time the leaders tee off mid-afternoon. Zalatoris is perched atop the leaderboard at nine-under after an error free 65 second round leaving him one clear of Chilean surprise package Mito Pereira, who is playing in just his second major.

Justin Thomas, the 2017 PGA Championship winner, is three back with twice Masters winner Bubba Watson four off the pace after rocketing into contention with a second round 63 that equalled the PGA Championship 18-hole scoring record.

First round leader Rory McIlroy struggled to a one-over 71 in the second round, but the Northern Irishman remained in contention for a third PGA Championship title lurking five strokes back.