Tiger Tied for 49th After Round 3 At The Northern Trust
PARAMUS, N.J. – Posting his first clean card of the year, Tiger Woods tallied three birdies and notched a 3-under-par 68 on Saturday in the third round of the Northern Trust Open at Ridgewood Country Club.
The last time he recorded a bogey-free outing was in final round of the 2015 Greenbriar Classic, a stretch of 68 rounds.
“I hit it good today,” Woods said. “Just felt like I controlled it, shaped it all different ways. I didn’t hole a lot.”
After missing only two greens Friday but using 35 putts, Woods found 13 on Saturday and finished with 28 putts on the greens. While the latter was a big improvement, he failed to capitalize on several birdie opportunities, missing
seven attempts from 14 feet or closer.
“I’m just not seeing the lines,” said Woods, who attributed part of his struggles to double and triple-breaking putts on the large, undulating greens.
Through three rounds, he has managed only seven birdies and has missed nine putts from 10 feet or closer.
“That’s not going to get it done,” he said. “These guys are making a boatloads of birdies, and as soft as it is, I just haven’t made any.”
Tied for 67th starting the third round, Woods moved into a tie for 49th at 3-under 210. Bryson DeChambeau is setting the pace at 16-under and will carry a four-stroke cushion into Sunday’s last round.
Competing in the FedEx Cup playoffs for the first time since 2013, Woods teed off early in the third group with Ian Poulter. His lone front nine birdie came at the par-3 sixth, where he knocked his tee shot just inside 12 feet.
Woods gave himself good looks at the third (eight feet), seventh (12 feet), eighth (14 feet) and ninth holes (12 feet) but couldn’t convert.
After nice par-saves at the 10th and 11th holes, he went for the green at the short par-4 12th and wound up in a bunker. Woods hit a nice sand shot to four feet and missed his birdie try.
Looking more comfortable off the tee for the second straight day, he piped a drive at the par-4 14th and smoothed his approach from 160 yards 16 feet from the pin and poured it in. He gave himself another great opportunity at the par-3 15th but missed from nine feet.
Woods scrambled for a par at 17.
He gave the large, appreciative gallery at 18 what they wanted, flagging his approach to six feet and rolled in the birdie putt.
For the third day in a row, Woods hit nine of 14 fairways. He credited changes with his driver shaft and a loft adjustment for the improvement.
“I’ve gone back to a shaft that I know and I’ve won tournaments with, so it’s a feel that I know,” he said. “This entire year has been trying to hit a moving target just because my swing has changed, my body’s changed. It’s morphed through the entire year.”
Woods entered Saturday as the Tour leader in third round scoring average at 68.42.
Regardless what happens Sunday, Woods has qualified and will play next week in the Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston, the second of four playoff events. His goal is to reach 10 under for the tournament.
“I think that would be a nice way to end the week,” Woods said. “It’s not going to win, but at least I can get some nice momentum going into Boston on a golf course that I’ve won on before.”
Woods tees off Sunday at 10 a.m. ET with Austin Cook.