Tiger Woods recovered from a nightmare start to card his lowest round of the week as the battle for the US Open title intensified at Pebble Beach.

Woods began the final day a distant 11 shots off the pace and quickly slipped further down the leaderboard with four bogeys in his first six holes, the 43-year-old again failing to take advantage of the easiest stretch of holes on the course.

However, Woods bounced back to birdie the seventh and eighth and then covered the back nine in 32 with birdies on the 13th, 14th, 16th and 18th for a closing 69 at the scene of his record 15-shot victory in 2000.

“I got off to another pretty crappy start but fought it off and was able to get it under par for the week,” Woods said. “Normally that’s a good thing (in a US Open) but these guys are really taking it to the golf course.

“After the sixth hole my goal was to get back to even par and it was a nice finish to get it to two under.”

At the top of the leaderboard, American Gary Woodland remained the man to catch as he tried to hold off the challenge of defending champion Brooks Koepka and 2013 winner Justin Rose.

Koepka, who is seeking a third consecutive US Open title and fifth major in his last nine appearances, made a flying start with four birdies in his first five holes before dropping a shot on the difficult eighth.

Overnight leader Gary Woodland moved two shots clear at Pebble Beach
Overnight leader Gary Woodland moved two shots clear at Pebble Beach (Marcio jose Sanchez/AP)

Woodland responded to the challenge with birdies on the second and third to briefly enjoy a three-shot lead, but failed to take advantage of the par-five sixth and Rose’s birdie there cut the gap to two.

England’s Matt Fitzpatrick and amateur Viktor Hovland had set the early clubhouse target on four under par, Hovland carding a 67 in his last round before turning professional and Fitzpatrick shooting 68.

Hovland’s total of 280 is the lowest 72-hole score by an amateur in the US Open, eclipsing the previous best set by Jack Nicklaus in 1960 by two shots.