Woods’ brief run of sub-par rounds is over at two, as he carded a 1-over 71 in the third round on the Old White TPC. He created a bevy of birdie opportunities, finding 13 of 18 greens in regulation, but for the second straight day was unable to capitalize on most of those chances.
Woods began the day four shots off the pace, and he trailed Jason Bohn by seven upon completing his third round. Woods declined to speak to the media for the second straight day, but he did offer comments to a PGA Tour media official.
“I gave myself plenty of looks early to get something going early and get on some kind of a run,” Woods said. “Could have easily been 3, 4, 5 under par on the front nine and just got nothing out of it.”
Woods’ round began with some promise, as he birdied the second hole for the third straight day and found six of his first seven greens in regulation. His putter failed to cooperate, as Woods – who didn’t make a putt over 6 feet during a second-round 69 – missed eight more putts from inside 15 feet on Saturday.
“I really didn’t make anything today,” Woods said. “I had the blocks with my putter today and just couldn’t, for some reason just couldn’t feel like I could let it go. Unfortunately just kind of how it was today.”
A balky flat stick meant Woods was unable to make a charge on a day when there were plenty of low scores, including a 9-under 61 from Bohn, but his round truly unraveled with a pair of significant misses off the tee.
After Woods birdied No. 10 to get to 7 under, he blew his tee shot well right on the par-4 11th. While he initially thought the ball was in play, it ended up out of bounds, requiring a walk back to the tee box and leading to a double bogey.
“It was a bad shot,” he said. “For some reason I hit a couple bad shots today; that’s the way it goes.”
Woods’ next blunder came on No. 17, a par 5 that has become his nemesis this week. After blocking his driver into the water lining the right side of the fairway each of the first two days, Woods instead pulled his tee shot well left. It ended up closer to the 12th fairway than the 17th and led to a bogey, his second of the week on the hole.
Despite the stumbles coming in, Woods returned to familiar affirmations with his post-round comments.
“It was closer than it might indicate,” he insisted. “I started pressing at the end, trying to make some birdies and really got aggressive.”
Woods appeared ready to contend this week following his opening-round 66. Instead, he will now begin the final round among the back half of the field and essentially out of the mix for his 80th career win in what will be his final competitive round before the Open Championship.
“Just keep working on what we’re working on. I feel like I’m really close to putting it together,” he said. “If I can just get a couple putts to go, then everything could kind of snowball the other way, and instead I was kind of fighting an uphill battle pretty much [all] day.”