DORAL, Fla. – If not a tale of two rounds then it was, at the least, a tale of two holes.
On a day built for speed Tiger Woods’ race back into contention at Doral was slowed by bogeys at the par-5 eighth and 12th holes, competitive kryptonite on a course that was laid bare on a virtually windless afternoon.
“I felt I had it going,” said Woods, who opened his round with three consecutive birdies and got to 9 under for the event with a 10-footer at the sixth. “Then I got to (No.) 8 . . .”
At the eighth, also known as the hole where good rounds go to die, Woods started strongly. Driver into the fairway that set up an awkward 2-iron that he pulled left of the green. He signed for a bogey-6 at No. 8 and matched that score at the 12th hole after hitting his drive into a sawgrass bush right of the fairway.
For the day Woods played Doral’s par 5s in even par and will begin his second consecutive Sunday eight or more strokes out of the lead and in need of something special. At PGA National he closed with 62 to finish tied for second place.
“Bubba (Watson) shot it (62 on Friday) so it certainly can be had. It all depends on the wind,” said Woods, who needed 23 putts on Saturday, his lowest total of the week.
Woods does seem to have momentum on his side heading into the final turn. He easily birdied the short 16th hole, missed a 15-footer at the 17th hole and turned the often-feared 18th hole into a driver/8-iron birdie.
“The winning score is probably going to be in the 20s (under),” Woods figured before heading to Doral’s practice tee for a post-round workout. “You have to take care of the par 5s.”
At Doral it’s always about the par 5s.