ST. LOUIS — For the second consecutive main championship, Tiger Woods finds himself in competition heading to the ultimate spherical.
But it was tough afterward to not surprise if Woods left just a few alternatives on the Bellerive Country Club course Saturday afternoon that will have made the duty a tad simpler in the course of the closing spherical of the PGA Championship.
After birdieing 5 of his first eight holes and enjoying the entrance aspect in 31 strokes, Woods stalled on the again 9, failing to transform any birdie alternatives and squandering a lovely probability at the par-5 17th, the place he three-putted for par. He settled for his second consecutive Four-under-par 66 to complete at 202, eight below par.
At occasions Saturday, previous Tiger seemed just like the Tiger of previous. The roars. The membership twirls. The stroll. But one thing was nonetheless lacking. What if he finds it Sunday?
There are a number of causes to assume Tiger Woods can pull this off on Sunday. There are simply as many causes to assume he will not. We look at all of them.
The course is so-so, and the climate is sizzling, so let’s get this over with, proper? Wrong. With all the massive names — Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler and extra — attempting to chase down Brooks Koepka, we’re in for one thing particular.
He is 4 strokes behind chief Brooks Koepka and in a tie for sixth. Adam Scott is 2 again of Koepka, with Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler and Gary Woodland in a tie for third, three strokes again.
Woods first needed to full 11 holes of the second spherical early Saturday morning, additionally ending with a 66.
“I thought I played really clean cards, really clean rounds,” stated Woods, who made eight birdies and three bogeys over the course of the 2 rounds. “And I just wish I could have got myself a couple more shots closer to the lead, especially with the way 17 is playing, moving the tee way up like that. And 18 is playing pretty short as well.”
Woods did not convert on each, regardless of having given himself wonderful probabilities. In reality, after draining a 10-footer for par to maintain his front-nine momentum intact, Woods had birdie putts of 20, 16, 14, eight and 20 ft at the 11th by 15th holes, a 20-footer for eagle at the 17th and a 14-footer for birdie at the 18th — and made none of them.
At the 17th, after ramming his eagle putt by the break, he missed the Four-footer coming again.
“I left pretty much every single putt short on the back nine,” he stated. “The greens were getting fuzzy, they’re getting slow, and I didn’t hit the putts quite hard enough. And I made sure on 17 I did. And I blew it by 4 feet and then pulled the next one.”
Woods did not low cost the truth that the lengthy day might need had an affect. He stated there have been no bodily points for the reason that week started with him taking ice baths to fight swelling.
But it’s the first time in 14 tournaments this 12 months that Woods has confronted greater than 18 holes in at some point because of a climate delay.
“I’m tired. I am definitely tired,” Woods stated. “Twenty-nine holes, it’s not necessarily the physical, it’s this mentally grinding that hard for 29 holes in this heat. It was a long day.”
And it began early, 7 a.m. native time. Woods resumed on the eighth gap, the place he had a wedge shot from 70 yards that he knocked shut for a birdie. But he missed 5-footers for par at the 10th and 12th holes surrounding a birdie at the 11th. He added a two-putt birdie at the 17th and ended the second spherical in a tie for 19th place, six photographs again of Woodland.
Then he started the third spherical with consecutive birdies and an already boisterous gallery at Bellerive turned much more engaged.
“It was awesome,” stated Stewart Cink, who additionally shot 66. “Being in Tiger’s group is at all times thrilling. Players attempt to downplay it, and I’ve downplayed it over time myself since you’re attempting to downplay it your self just a little bit, however it’s a reasonably intense setting on the market. It’s enjoyable.
“You’ve received to determine what you need to do with it earlier than you get on the market, and it was a whole lot of enjoyable. Hearing the group, and Tiger’s performing nice. It was like turning again the fingers of the clock.”
But Woods may flip it solely to this point. After his third straight birdie, at the eighth gap, that was it. He completed with 10 consecutive pars.
Still, it’s the first time for the reason that 2005 Masters that Woods has shot consecutive rounds of 66 or higher in a significant championship.
And the spherical was strong, maybe one thing to construct on. Woods hit 10 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens. But he wanted 18 putts on the again 9 for a complete of 30, and the distinction between being nearer to the lead.
Three weeks in the past, Woods trailed the leaders by 4 strokes heading into the ultimate spherical at Carnoustie, and located himself atop the leaderboard with eight holes to go earlier than ending in a tie for sixth.
There, he wanted some assist from the leaders to make it fascinating, and the identical may be required right here. But there is not any query what Woods might want to do.
“Another low spherical,” Woods said. “The golf course is enjoying delicate, it is gettable, it’s a must to make birdies. Look at that entrance 9. Seemed like everyone was between 2- and Four- or 5-under par. That’s simply the character of the best way it is enjoying proper now. It’s delicate, it is plugging, we’re in a position to maintain Four-irons, 5-irons, no matter we wish, at the flags. Because of that, you bought to make birdies.”