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Woods is gone, but his ex-caddie will have a late tee time. Adam Scott, who hired Steve Williams for his bag, made a strong move into contention until a blunder on the last hole. Trying to lay up with a punch shot under the trees, it came out too hot and went into the front of the water. Scott finished with a double bogey for a 69 and was still only three shots behind.

Luke Donald and Lee Westwood, Nos. 1 and 2 in the world and both trying to win their first major, are still very much in the picture. Westwood quietly pieced together a 69 and was at 1-under 139, while Donald shot 71 and was only six shots out of the lead.

“I thought at the start of the week, 6 under was going to win the tournament,” Westwood said. “It may still do. I’m sort of cruising into position.”

McIlroy still thinks he has a chance, too.

It was big news when the U.S. Open champion showed up on the range about 30 minutes before his tee time, his right wrist taped from his decision — a bad one, he conceded — to hit a 7-iron through a tree root on Thursday. McIlroy only strained a tendon — tests did not reveal even a partial tear — and the 22-year-old from Northern Ireland did not want to stop playing the final major.

His wrist looked fine. His putting was another story.

McIlroy three-putted three times on his way to a 73, the most untimely of those coming on the par-3 17th after he hit into the water. That gave him a triple bogey and killed his momentum, but not his optimism.

“If I don’t think I could contend, I probably wouldn’t be playing,” he said.

Woods isn’t the only one headed home early. Defending champion Martin Kaymer was among three players from the top 10 in the world to miss the cut — the others were Jason Day and Dustin Johnson.

But even after being gone for three months until last week at Firestone, and expectations lower than they have ever been for Woods in a major, no one expected this.

In his 13 previous appearances in this major, Woods made only 11 double bogeys in 936 holes. He made five double bogeys in the opening 30 holes at Atlanta Athletic Club.

Barring another start, he will have finished only 22 rounds of stroke play on the PGA Tour this year.