September 02, 2018

Woods Tied for 16th After Round 3 of the Dell Technologies Championship

NORTON, Mass. – Tiger Woods has been a fan of Bryson DeChambeau since he joined the PGA Tour in 2016. He is intrigued by DeChambeau’s mental approach, unconventional methods and work ethic, traits that helped make Woods the best player of his generation.

They have played multiple practice rounds this year, chatting continuously about equipment and technology. Like the 42-year-old Woods, DeChambeau, 24, is an intelligent, inquisitive golf nerd who enjoys experimenting and is always searching for ways to improve.

Sometimes, DeChambeau gets so engaged in conversation he forgets to play.

“Shut up and hit,” Woods has jokingly said to him.

Both are native Californians and share a unique distinction: they are two of only five players to win the individual NCAA Championship and U.S. Amateur in the same year. Woods did it at Stanford in 1996, while DeChambeau accomplished it at SMU in 2015.

Sunday, in the third round of the Dell Technologies Championship, they were paired together for the first time on the PGA Tour. DeChambeau fired an 8-under-par 63 at TPC Boston to beat Woods 68 by five strokes.

Through three rounds, Woods is tied for 16th at 7-under 2006. Abraham Ancer leads at 13-under 200, while DeChambeau is second at 12-under 201.

“He’s fantastic to play with,” Woods said. “It was two friends going out there, competing and playing.”

DeChambeau talked glowingly about the experience.

“He’s my childhood idol,” said DeChambeau. “I grew up admiring him and trying to be like him. To be able to play with him for the first time in Boston and play as well as I did is something I will never forget.”

Likewise for the atmosphere.

“Everybody was pretty riled up,” he said of the crowd. “Sometimes my ears were ringing. I certainly appreciate what he’s done for the game. He’s been an inspiration for me.”

When Woods returned to competitive golf last December in the Hero World Challenge at the Albany Club in the Bahamas, DeChambeau was in his gallery.

They could be teammates, even partners later this month at the Ryder Cup outside Paris, France.

“It would be an honor,” DeChambeau said.

Woods got off to a strong start Sunday with birdies at the par-5 second, par-4 fifth and par-5 seventh to a post a 3-under 33 on the front side and made his first appearance on the leaderboard at 7-under for the tournament.

The promising round stalled on the back nine, Woods sustaining more lip-outs and managed only one birdie, nearly chipping in for eagle at the par-5 18th.

The lone blemish on his card came at the par-4 13th, where he three-putted from 25 feet, his first bogey in 33 holes.

“My speed was a little off,” said Woods, who used a week-high 28 putts. “I was trying to be a little more aggressive on the greens and trying to make sure that I gave it a good hit.”

Woods made a nice up-and-down save for par at 14, sinking a 10-foot putt. He gave himself good birdie chances at 15 and 16 but couldn’t convert. After an errant approach at 17, he salvaged another good par with a deft chip.

Woods hit eight of 14 fairways and 12 of 18 greens. He toured the three par-5s in 3-under.

“I didn’t get a lot out of my round today,” he said. “Just kind of the way it goes.”

The final round will be played Monday. Woods tees off at 12:15 p.m. ET with Brooks Koepka.

Following play, the top 70 players in the FedExCup playoff standings advance to the BMW Championship, Sept. 6-9 at Aronimink Golf Club. Woods will move on regardless what happens Monday.

The ultimate goal is to qualify for the Tour Championship, Sept. 20-23 at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. Only the top 30 players on the points list advance after the BMW Championship.

“I have to play well in order to make East Lake,” said Woods. “The points are very volatile.”