Graeme McDowell expressed his admiration for Tiger Woods as he carded a 73 to the world No 1's 70 in the third round of the Masters.

Playing on the weekend at Augusta National for the first time after missing the cut on his debut in 2005, McDowell was enthralled as Woods began with a double bogey six but still chiselled out a two under par score to give himself a slim chance of challenging for the title on Sunday.

Still learning how to play Augusta, McDowell finished the day 10 shots behind the leaders on one-under.

He said: "It is my first weekend at Augusta and this is a different test. It is very difficult. It was an education playing with Tiger today.

"He made six on the first and shoots two under. He is unbelievably impressive and it is great to watch him. Despite struggling with his swing he manages to post a number and keep himself in the Major Championship going into Sunday.

"I struggled a bit with my swing today. Didn’t quite hit it as well as I had the last couple of days. There is always something extra to deal with when you are playing with Tiger. I can’t blame that as I felt I handled that pretty well. The crowds were fantastic, I just didn’t play good."

McDowell started well and birdied the fourth but bogeyed the seventh and eighth to turn in one over par 37 to 36 by Woods, who birdied the third and ninth.

"I hit a loose tee shot on seventh and paid the penalty for that," McDowell said. "Eight was a big turning point for me. I had 75 yards to the pin and walked off with bogey and that was a bit of a kick for me."

"I hung in there well around Amen Corner," added McDowell, who had two birdies and two bogeys coming home. "Just made a few loose swings. Couple of nice putts on 15 and 16 to hang me in there. It wasn’t the kind of day I had on mind but it is always a tough ask to play with the best player in the world.

"It is important to just have a good day tomorrow, play well and post a number. Enjoy my first weekend at Augusta. I have enjoyed the week and been very happy with the way I played. I have just got to post a good number tomorrow and walk away with some good feelings."