Tiger Woods fires 68, fails to mount big Moving Day charge at TPC Boston

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Tiger Woods fires 68, fails to mount big Moving Day charge at TPC Boston

PGA Tour

Tiger Woods fires 68, fails to mount big Moving Day charge at TPC Boston

Tiger Woods is unlikely to win the Dell Technologies Championship, but a high finish is far from out of the question.

Woods missed some key birdie chances on a pristine Sunday at TPC Boston, and only managed a 3-under 68 in the third round. Still, that score has him up to T-16 at 7 under overall. He’s six back in the clubhouse at the moment (although he’ll likely be further back by day’s end).

A round in the very low 60s will likely be needed Monday for Woods to really have a chance to win. More realistically, a top 5 could still be in the cards. And remember, he was 3 over and near last place on the opening nine of this tournament.

But Sunday was still a tease.

Woods began the third round by missing his first two fairways, but that didn’t hurt him. He drained a 14-footer for birdie at the par-5 second to move to 5 under.

A lip-out from 6 feet for birdie ensued at the drivable par-4 fourth, but Woods proceeded to stuff his approach to 3 feet at the next to birdie and move to 6 under.

He found the green in two at the par-5 seventh and two-putted for birdie to reach 7 under. At that point, he was in the top 10 and just four back.

But he got nothing going the remainder of the round.

Woods went out in 3-under 33 and would give himself birdie chances from 12 and 8 feet at Nos. 11 and 12, but he got neither chance to drop.

His speed on the greens was off on Sunday, as Woods kept hammering putts by and thus failing to drop good looks. While he had no problem with a few comebackers of 3-4 feet, the practice of running his first putts well past finally bit him when he blitzed a 23-footer for birdie at the par-4 13th some 5 feet by and his remaining putt grazed the left edge and scurried on.

He actually had to make a 4-footer just to salvage a three-putt bogey, which he did. But it was still a ghastly three-putt, and a momentum-killer after a bogey-free streak of 33 holes.

Now back to 6 under, Woods couldn’t rebound much to push further forward. After some missed opportunities, he actually drained a 10-footer for par at the par-4 14th. But he then brought back the birdie whiffs when he couldn’t connect on efforts from 15 and 6 feet at Nos. 15 and 16.

A nifty up and down, complete with a buried 4-footer, saved par at the par-4 17th.

He then nearly ended the round with magic, as he came inches from holing a chip for eagle at the par-5 18th. But the ball curled right under the cup at the last second, and Woods had to settle for a closing tap-in birdie.

The stats weren’t as kind Sunday and Woods indeed was left effective off the tee after a fantastic first two days, but he still found 8/14 fairways and generally did well off the tee. The driver behaved reasonably well.

His approach play had been a source of frustration over the first 36 holes, but Woods did improve there on Sunday. He stuffed that one at the fifth and gave himself a few other nice looks inside 12 feet off approaches. And his work around the greens was pretty nifty, not perfect but more than serviceable.

There was no part of Woods’ game that was way off, but if there was one part that held him back it was his putter. Woods missed five putts inside 12 feet on the day and only made a couple of putts outside 5 feet.

As we said, he seemed to be hitting putts significantly too hard with the frustration boiling over with the three-putt at the 13th. The lip-outs from Saturday continued although not in as much force.

It’s possible Woods can still win Monday if he puts up a stupid low round. Most likely, though, his 68 was not enough of a Moving Day charge on a very gettable layout.

But if Woods can put together a nice round Monday, it could mean a high finish. And with Woods 25th in the FedEx Cup standings, a top 5 or 10 might earn him enough points to prove enough to secure him a spot into the Tour Championship before the BMW Championship (top 30 in the standings after that event move on to East Lake).

That would be a nice bit of stress off his back.

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