Woods Tied for 28th After Third Round of WGC-Bridgestone Invitational
AKRON, Ohio – Third rounds have brought out the best in Tiger Woods this year, but not Saturday. For the first time this season, he finished over par.
Laboring most of the way, Woods tallied a 3-over 73 in the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at toasty Firestone Country Club, where he has won eight times. It was his highest score at Firestone since a 7-over 77 in 2010.
Woods entered with the lowest third-round scoring average on the PGA Tour at 68.20.
Starting the day tied for 10th, five strokes off the lead, he’s now tied for 28th at 3-under 207, 11 shots behind pacesetter Justin Thomas.
Granted, conditions were tougher, the South Course firming up after two player-friendly days.
“I wasn’t crisp or clean,” said Woods, who had a poor warm up session. “Very similar to the first day. The difference is today I didn’t make anything.”
Paired with Marc Leishman of Australia, Woods made scrambling pars on the first three holes, the latter after punching out from the left trees, then stuffing a 100-yard wedge to three feet.
On the few occasions he was able to attack, Woods’ iron play wasn’t sharp, creating stressful par saves. He did bust a 361-yard drive at the par-4 eighth, then spun a wedge nine feet below the hole but caught the left edge with his birdie attempt.
Woods turned in 1-over 36.
The back nine wasn’t much better. Woods hit a beautiful tee shot at 12, converting a 12-foot downhill putt for his only birdie. He also flushed his tee shot at 13 and had a great chance to reach red figures for the day with a short iron in his hands. But Woods misjudged the wind and his approach flew the green into thick rough, resulting in a bogey.
Despite his struggles, Woods kept grinding. Following a bad drive and pitch out at the par-5 16th, he launched a long iron over the fronting pond from 231 yards to create a nice birdie opportunity from 14 feet under the hole but couldn’t capitalize.
Summarizing the afternoon, Woods piped a big drive at the par-4 18th, then one-hopped his approach off the middle of the flag stick, the ball caroming 10 feet to the right. He two-putted for a par, seemingly bewildered and frustrated.
“I felt like I couldn’t quite turn it around today,” said Woods. “I wanted to go get it and I didn’t do it.”
He hit seven fairways, nine greens and used 29 putts.
Asked if he was okay physically, Woods said, “Yea, I’m fine. Just played like crap.”
He did not practice afterward.
“I’ve got to recover for tomorrow,” Woods said. “That’s one of the challenges as we age is trying to recover for the next day.”
He begins the final round on Sunday at 11:20 a.m. ET with Wade Ormsby of Australia. Even with only an outside chance of winning, Woods insisted there was still plenty of incentive with the PGA Championship looming.
“Just try and build into Thursday and get some positive momentum going into next week,” he said.