Tiger Shoots 72 In A Rainy Third Round
AUGUSTA, Ga. – After posting his best round of the tournament, Tiger Woods was far from satisfied Saturday at the 82nd Masters.
Opening with a pair of bogeys, Woods battled back to shoot an even-par 72 on a humid, rainy day at Augusta National Golf Club. But as was the case in the first two rounds, he wasn’t sharp and left many shots on the course.
“I feel like I’m driving it better than I have all year, but I’m not capitalizing on it,” he said afterward. “When I did miss, it was in the wrong spots. My swing is just off with my irons.”
A four-time Masters champion, the 42-year-old Woods knew he needed a low round to climb into contention. But he was unable to generate positive momentum and fought hard for his score.
“I’m not hitting it close enough or taking advantage of the par-5s,” said Woods.
He has a 54-hole total of 4-over 220 and is tied for 40th. Patrick Reed leads at 14-under 202.
In 20 starts at Augusta, Woods was a combined 150-under on the par-5s starting play Saturday. He toured them in 1-under and is a disappointing 1-under for the week.
“I’m hitting so many good putts,” he said. “They’re just not going in.”
Woods has been unable to dial in his short irons. For the second consecutive day, he crushed his opening drive and missed the green from 100 yards with a wedge.
“It’s been scratchy all week,” he said. “I haven’t gotten it done.”
Paired with Ian Poulter, Woods made his first birdie and sixth of the tournament at the downhill par-3 sixth. He smoothed his tee shot seven feet from the pin and converted the putt.
Woods got back to even for the day with a nice up-and-down birdie at the uphill par-5 eighth. His second shot finished short-right of the green and he chipped to six feet. Woods parred the ninth to turn in 36.
After pars at 10 and 11, he had a breakthrough at the par-3 12th, where he found Rae’s Creek and made bogey in the first and second rounds. This time, he gave his 9-iron a little extra and hit a beautiful shot about 10 feet right of the hole.
“I just couldn’t do it three days in a row,” he said of the previous rinsings. “I gave it a little more gas to make sure I was long. I missed the putt, but hey, it’s a lot easier playing the hole from the green than it is to drop it.”
Once the ball landed, Woods raised his arms, then gave the safe sign, the patrons eating it up.
“It’s a tough little hole,” said Woods. “I hit two terrible shots (Thursday and Friday). They weren’t close to being dry.”
Woods pushed his drive into the right pine needles at the par-5 13th, then flushed an aggressive second just over Rae’s Creek and came up short of the putting surface. He got up and down for birdie.
A poor wedge on this third shot led to a frustrating bogey at the par-5 15th, but Woods rebounded quickly, flagging a 9-iron five feet from the cup at the par-3 16th, and rolled in the birdie putt.
Woods parred the last two holes for the third consecutive day. He hit 12 of 18 greens, four of 11 fairways and finished with 29 putts.
Informed that he has risen from 1,000th to the top 100 in the Official World Ranking in just six starts this year, Woods laughed.
“I’m gradually working on it,” said Woods. “I’m building my way back into it. I’ve had some success so far in this comeback and I’m getting there.”
While he no longer has a realistic chance of earning a fifth green jacket, Woods still has plenty to play for Sunday. He tees off at 11:10 a.m. ET with Rafael Cabrera Bello.
“I wish this weekend would have been a little bit better,” Woods said. “Hopefully I can shoot something to get me even par or even in the red. That would be a good goal tomorrow and hopefully I can get it done.”