Sunday, 09 December, 2018

Woods Positive after First-round 70 at Honda Classic

Justin Thomas – the clear favourite at the Honda after round one Justin Thomas – who opened-up with a three-under-par 67 on Thursday
| 25 February, 2018, 00:48

Tiger Woods was in enough control Saturday to remain on the fringes of contention. He last played the Honda Classic in 2014, when he withdrew from the final round before undergoing the first of his four back surgeries.

There was to be no dream scenario, as befitting the encounters with harsh reality Woods has become accustomed to just when progress appears rapid. In 2008 he was swinging at 124mph and in these first two rounds he's been swinging it at 124mph.

Woods watched Brandt Snedeker nail a 5-iron to a few feet at the 17th, but then the wind backed off. Getting some 15,000 people to quiet down proved almost impossible as Woods tried to figure out what to do. "I'm trying to make a lot of pars, maybe sprinkle in a birdie here or there". He went on to par the next four holes and birdied the par-4 ninth to make the turn at a 1-under 34. He showed his mettle was still strong, though, at the par-4 12th. Woods drove into a fairway bunker on the third and then laid up and put his third shot in a bunker.

After that mess, Woods drained the putt for a key par - with a fist pump to boot.

Tiger Woods's latest comeback is in its early stages, but the former world number one is already relishing the prospect of returning to the Masters in April.

On the 15th, a par-3 of 164 yards that is guarded down the entire right side by water and protected by deep bunkers on the left, Woods tried to draw the ball into the green and came up short. His 68 in Round 2 jumped him 58 spots to T24. He then bogeyed the par-3 17th after another left miss off the tee.

"I feel like I'm right there", Woods said after finishing at 141, 1 over par and in a tie for 14th. His ball-striking was better today as he hit two more GIR (14 of 18) to give him 26 of 36 for the week (T4).


For the first time in these three days, Woods actually seemed to be shooting a worse score than the way he was playing.

He responded immediately with a birdie, splitting the fairway at the sixth with a two-iron and draining a six-foot putt. It's a recipe for not making many putts.

Once again, Woods struggled to finish out a round, too.

For the most part, the victor of 79 PGA Tour titles and 14 majors is passing the test in his third start on the PGA Tour after taking a year off to recover following spinal fusion surgery.

He'll have a good shot Sunday to best his T-23 at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Tiger Woods, widely hailed as the best golfer of his generation, is starting to believe he can do something he hasn't done in half a decade - win a title on the PGA Tour.

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