NORTON, Mass. – He’s been here before. Well, sort of.
Way back in 2006 Tiger Woods began the manic Monday that is the final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship three strokes adrift of Vijay Singh, signed for two eagles on his way to a blistering front-nine 30 and beat the Fijian by two strokes.
“I did it once before,” Woods figured following his second-consecutive 68 that left him tied for third place at 13 under par.
But then this isn’t exactly the same scenario. Louis Oosthuizen followed rounds of 66-65 with a 63 on Sunday that included seven consecutive birdies and has a six-stroke advantage over Woods heading into Monday’s final turn.
The largest comebacks of Woods’ career were five-shot rallies in 2009 at Bay Hill and 2000 at Pebble Beach, but that came against Sean O’Hair and Matt Gogel and Mark Brooks, respectively, not a proven major champion. He will have to sidestep Rory McIlroy, who is three strokes behind the South African and alone in second place.
The good news for Woods is his game was relatively solid on Sunday. He hit 9 of 14 fairways, 13 of 18 greens in regulation and needed just 28 putts, just not many for birdie.
After going out in 2 under, Woods missed his third consecutive green at the par-3 11th and failed to convert the 10 footer for par. He managed to birdie the 15th and 16th holes from 4 and 10 feet, respectively, but that did little to help narrow the gap on Oosthuizen.
“If you get off to a quick start it can be done,” Woods said of his Monday chances. “It wouldn’t surprise me if someone shoots 8, 9 under par.”
He just hopes it’s not Oosthuizen – again.