January 28, 2018

Woods Shoots 70 in Third Round at Farmers

LA JOLLA, Calif. – It was another adventurous test of resiliency and talent, but Tiger Woods displayed more positive signs Saturday in the third round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course.

Competing in only his second PGA Tour event since 2015, Woods shot a scrambling 2-under-par 70 despite finding only three fairways off the tee for the second consecutive day. Searching for feel and tempo, he compensated with stellar chipping and putting to collect four birdies and only two bogeys on another pristine day at the scenic ocean-side layout.

“The only thing I had was my short game and my heart,” said the 42-year-old Woods, a winner of eight pro tournaments at Torrey Pines. “That got me through today.”

Coming off earlier rounds of 72 and 71, Woods has a 54-hole score of 3-under 213, eight shots behind pacesetter Alex Noren at 11-under 205.

Woods had a two-way miss going with his driver and blamed it on timing and feel, sounding confident he will sort things out with more competitive rounds and practice sessions.

“I didn’t hit it worth a darn all day,” he said. “I was really struggling to find anything resembling a golf swing. It was gross.”

That said, Woods still improved 26 spots in the standings.

Fortunately, he knows the South Course so well, he knows where to miss and how to recover from challenging places.

“That definitely helps,” said Woods.

He’s still adjusting to the thick, rye rough. Woods has practice holes at his home in Florida and over-seeded an area of Bermuda rough to prepare for Torrey.

“I’ve kept my speed up and am comfortable with the face,” he said.
More importantly, after four-plus days of walking, his body feels great.
“No pain,” said Woods. “None.”

A year ago at Torrey, his last PGA Tour event, Woods was hurting and missed the cut.

“I don’t have that burning pain down my leg,” he said. “It was not fun. The thing that hurt the most was chipping and putting because I had to bend over. Bunker shots were the worst.”

A back nine starter with Sung Kang and Brandt Snedeker, Woods rebounded from a bogey at 11 to card back-to-back birdies at 12 and 13. He kept the massive gallery on its toes by spraying tee shots, but found creative ways to save par.

“I haven’t had people yelling like that in a long time,” an appreciative Woods said of the spectators. “They have been fantastic. Southern California has always been near and dear to my heart and I’m enjoying it a lot.”

After a bogey at the 16 – his last of the day, Woods rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt at the par-5 18th and turned in 1-under 35.

On the front side, he fashioned five-straight pars before adding his final birdie at the par-5 sixth. Woods closed with three pars.
“His short game is probably as good or better than I ever remember it being,”
Snedeker said.

Another plus was his play on the par-5s. After touring them in even par on Thursday, he played them 2-under Friday and 3-under Saturday.

Woods will look to build on that success Sunday. He starts on the 10th tee at 11:15 a.m. ET with Francesco Molinari and Hideki Matsuyama.