AUGUSTA, Ga. – Tiger Woods could hardly have started worse Saturday at the Masters, but it ultimately turned out to be an OK day.
Woods bogeyed his first two holes but got his game together enough to salvage a third-round Even-par 72 at Augusta National. It was Woods’ best round of the week as he opened 73-75, but it marked the third straight day he failed to break par.
And at 4 over, he’s in a tie for 42nd and any microscopic chances he had entering the day of moving into contention are gone with 18 holes to play.
It’s definitely been a 54 holes Woods will mostly want to forget.
For the second straight round, Woods bombed a drive down the par-4 first, left himself around 100 yards for his second and made bogey.
This time, he bafflingly dumped a wedge from 106 yards in the rough into the front bunker – a good 20 yards short of the back pin. He blasted out to 11 feet and missed the putt.
A third shot from 154 yards at the par-5 second also came up well short in a bunker. This time it was front left, and another sand shot to mid-range ended with him missing the putt and making bogey.
The bogey-bogey start had Woods all the way back to 6 over. But he steadied himself from there.
A nervy save from a greenside bunker at the par-4 third allowed him to avoid a third straight bogey. Three holes later, he knocked his tee shot 7 feet right of the pin and drained the putt for his first birdie of the day.
He rolled in another 7-footer for birdie at the par-5 eighth and he was now even par for the round. A slew of pars ensued as Woods remained 4 over for the tournament.
The streak was broken when he airmailed the green with a wedge at the par-5 15th, chipped up short onto the fringe and missed the mid-range par putt. Woods followed the poor bogey, though, with a stuffed tee shot to 5 feet at the par-3 16th.
He buried the birdie putt to move back to even par for the round.
Two more pars followed to close out his day.
This simply hasn’t been Woods’ week. He’s made remarkable progress this season in his return, but something just hasn’t been right for him at Augusta in those go-round.
Saturday was no different, as his distance control remained extremely suspect. His full wedges were particularly awful. He just does not look sharp, and it’s been that kind of week.
There’s still one more round awaiting and we’ll see if Woods can put together a good 18 to salvage a decent finish. But his first appearance in a major championship in his return has definitely been a dud.