Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Woods back in contention at happy hunting ground

Lining it up Tiger Woods is favourite for the Arnold Palmer Invitational after an impressive display at the Valspar Championship Lining it up Tiger Woods is favourite for the Arnold Palmer Invitational after an impressive display at the Valspar Championship
| 16 March, 2018, 05:06

He then drained a 71-foot birdie that elicited huge roars from the gallery and a giant smile from Woods himself.

PGA Tour rookies Aaron Wise and Talor Gooch each had 65. Goydos has 11 more years and seven fewer Arnold Palmer Invitational titles than Woods, whose quick return to championship form Goydos had all but predicted last November.

Woods is seeking a record ninth victory at Bay Hill in just his fifth PGA Tour event since undergoing spinal fusion surgery in April 2017, his fourth back operation in the space of three years. Alright, I didn't really sleep in a red polo shirt (but I would be lying if I said I didn't think about it) but if you turned on the TV this weekend to any sports channel you undoubtedly heard the phrase "Tiger is in contention".

Fans are already showing a willingness to pay top dollar to see Tiger back at Augusta - ticket prices for the Masters have been skyrocketing since his recent run of play began.

"I thought I played well today".

Woods had no complaints, and about the only thing that went wrong - except for the tee shot on No. 3 that went OB - was his prediction before he left Bay Hill. Lee had three birdies, five bogeys and a double bogey on a poor ball-striking day.


Woods shares second alongside Patrick Reed and Byeong Hun An (both 68), while two-time major victor Zach Johnson (69) headlines a tie for fifth one shot back.

"To be able to win this tournament and to have Arnold there and to shake his hand and for him to give me a big hug and a couple of times he says: 'I called it, I knew you were going to make that putt'". Also in a greenside bunker on the finishing hole, Lowry - who'd eagled the 16th to get to level par on his round - watched in horror as his recovery shot cleared the green and finished in the rocks on the lakeshore and he was forced to take a penalty in running up a triple-bogey seven to sign for a 75.

"There was no problem today", said Matsuyama, who hadn't played since withdrawing after 18 holes of the Waste Management Phoenix Open on February 2.

"I feel way more comfortable in the tournament setting now".

Playing alongside Tiger Woods and Jason Day - and with black tape on his injured left wrist - Matsuyama tested the injury in tournament conditions for the first time in more than a month.

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