Tiger Woods fires bogey-free 68 at Northern Trust, but putting woes continue

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Tiger Woods fires bogey-free 68 at Northern Trust, but putting woes continue

PGA Tour

Tiger Woods fires bogey-free 68 at Northern Trust, but putting woes continue

Tiger Woods recorded his first bogey-free round of 2018 on Saturday, but it hardly felt like a performance to celebrate.

Woods fired a 3-under 68 in Round 3 at The Northern Trust and did so with no blemishes on the card (his first bogey-free round since the final day at the 2015 Greenbrier event). But that round did not push Woods into contention – he’s T-46 at 3 under overall and seven back with the leaders still yet to attack the gettable Ridgewood Country Club on Saturday – and it could’ve been so much better.

Thanks to another day with a balky putter, Woods saw himself unable to put up the super low score that was within his grasp.

It was almost like deja vu on Saturday.

Following a Friday in which Woods gave himself a number of good birdie looks but fumbled the majority, the same tune arose in Round 3.

Woods’ day began by him draining a 6-footer for par but he then missed left on an 8-footer for birdie at the par-5 third. He followed by dropping an 11-footer for birdie at the par-3 sixth to move to 1 under.

But then the putting woes ramped up. Woods missed birdie putts from 12, 14 and 12 feet at the next three holes to go out in 1-under 34. He nearly chipped in for birdie at the par-3 11th – his ball hit the right-center of the cup with some speed and boomeranged out – and then compounded the disappointment by missing low and right on a 4-footer for birdie at the par-4 12th.

His 11-footer for birdie at the par-5 13th was always finishing high and left.

Not only were all these birdie putts missing, they appeared to be alarmingly offline with never a chance of touching the hole – let alone going in. He looked totally flummoxed getting the ball on the right line.

Just as that frustration mounted, Woods proceeded to drain a 16-footer for birdie at the par-4 14th to move to 2 under. Just as quickly, the issues returned when he lipped out a 9-footer for birdie at the par-3 15th.

He did knock in a 5-footer for par at the par-5 17th to keep up his bogey-free round, though, and then had a flourish of a finish.

A beauty of an approach at the last left him 6 feet for birdie, which Woods made. But it was simply a nice conclusion to a round that wasn’t nearly good enough to move him into contention.

The ball-striking was there again as Woods found 9/14 fairways and 13/18 GIR. His driver continued to be a weapon as he hit eight of 10 in the short grass with the big stick.

But his proximity on approaches still left something to be desired at times, and his putting continued to be a disaster.

Woods said he had trouble seeing his lines Friday, and it certainly appeared that continued Saturday.

The putter has simply let Woods down this week. With some better work on the greens, he might actually be in this thing.

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