Tiger Woods continues to progress entering final round of Honda Classic

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 24: Tiger Woods catches a golf ball on 17th green during the third round of the Honda Classic at PGA National Resort and Spa on February 24, 2018 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Tiger Woods continues to progress entering final round of Honda Classic

PGA Tour

Tiger Woods continues to progress entering final round of Honda Classic

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — After putting himself in contention entering the weekend, Tiger Woods shot his lowest round on the PGA Tour since 2015 Saturday in Round 3 of the Honda Classic.

Woods posted a 1-under 69 and through much of the round was relevant not because of who he is but because of what he was doing. He went on a ballstriking tear from holes No. 7-11, giving himself decent birdie look at each of them and reminding everyone what he can do when healthy and locked in. 

He managed only one birdie in that stretch, but the tee shots were so pure and the approaches so dialed in that it seems only a matter of time before Woods will be able to post a strong number.

“I’m making some tweaks in my golf swing, but also starting to understand what this body can do,” Woods said. “It’s not like it used to be. Those angles are gone. So I’ve had to make a little bit of adjustments here and there and I think I’ve done that, and I think I’ve done a pretty good job of just kind of gradually building it together. You know, today was the best I’ve hit it and I thought (Friday) was pretty good, but today was a little better.”

Jason Dufner, who shot even-par 70 in the same group, said he played with Tiger several times at Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Fla., before Woods’ season debut at the Farmers Insurance Open. Maybe that’s why he didn’t seem too surprised with Woods’ ballstriking Saturday.

“I don’t think he’s that far away,” Dufner said. “Probably won’t take him that long if he’s healthy. He’s a smart guy, he’ll figure out what it takes to play good golf.”

We’re still in the very early stages of the latest comeback and the rust is evident at times. Woods made bogey at the par-3 15th and bogey at the par-3 17th, missing the green by a healthy margin in both instances. Yet he nearly pulled off a ridiculous flop shot over a bunker from the left side rough at No. 15, his ball landing on the fringe of the green but never releasing.

“That would have been stupid good,” Dufner said.

Woods still has an outside shot to win but sits seven shots off the lead at even par and is T-11 entering Sunday’s final round.  But he’s hitting it so well he could easily be at or near the top of the leaderboard.

Woods ranks No. 2 in the field in proximity to the hole on approach shots through three rounds. He’s working the ball in all the right places but hasn’t had a ton of luck with the putter, though he did have another huge par-save Saturday with a 16-foot make at No. 12.

“Highest score I could have possibly shot today,” Woods said. “I really hit it good. I really had nice control of it today. … Overall, I feel very pleased to shoot something in the red and give myself a chance going into tomorrow. We’ll see what happens.”

Keep in mind this is just Woods’ third start of the season and he’s doing this on one of the toughest courses players will see all year. And he’s scored better than all but 14 guys in the field, almost all of which are younger and playing on a much more consistent basis.

Woods is starting to get more comfortable with his new swing, he’s starting to get more consistent off the tee, and overall the Honda Classic is beginning to feel like the start of something big.


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