Tiger Woods plays far better than his score indicates in Round 3 at Memorial

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Tiger Woods plays far better than his score indicates in Round 3 at Memorial

PGA Tour

Tiger Woods plays far better than his score indicates in Round 3 at Memorial

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DUBLIN, Ohio – Of course there was one final lip-out in Saturday’s third round for Tiger Woods, the imperfect ending to an unsatisfactory round that left him shaking his head as he left the scoring area.

“It’s frustrating,” Woods said after a 2-under-par 70 left him well behind the leaders at the Memorial. “That was the highest round I could possibly have shot today. Seventy could easily have been nothing today.

“I had it going, I was playing well. The wind was a little bit tricky, but I was hitting it flush enough where I was getting through the wind. I got nothing out of the round today.”

Woods was getting plenty out of his round in the early going, holing a bunker shot on the first for birdie, nearly jarring his approach on the third which led to another birdie, two-putting the fifth for birdie and nestling an approach to eight feet on the seventh for yet another birdie.

Yes, as Woods said, he had it going. And he had the large galleries roaring. Something special was happening.

And then poof.

MEMORIAL: Tiger shot by shot | Leaderboard

Just as he did in Friday’s second round, when he ruined it with a double-bogey 7 on the par-5 15th, Woods lost hold of mighty mo.

On the eighth, he left his birdie putt one revolution short of the hole. And then came the 10th. His tee shot wound up in a deep fairway bunker. His second shot remained in the bunker. Four shots later he walked off the green with a double-bogey 6 and a deflated psyche.

“I clipped the lip and it came back up against my footprint,” Woods said of his first bunker shot. Not much more needed to be said. Then again, Woods certainly didn’t want to talk about the shot any more than he had to.

 

His ascension up the leaderboard – he was three shots behind at the time – took an immediate 180. While he did birdie 15 and 16, he bogeyed 14 – bad luck with a wedge – and 18 – that aforementioned lip-out.

“I’d never seen a round that lipped out more shots than today,” Woods said. “Six lip-outs or seven lip-outs today. It was unreal. I had it going through the front nine and I just hugged the tee shot enough at 10 and ended up in a bad spot and made double there. And didn’t really get anything going. I was close to a yard here, a yard there. Look at 14, look at what happened at 17, and those are shots that could have easily been within five, six feet. Next thing you know, I’m in a tough spot.”

But his game isn’t in a tough spot. Tempering his aggravation is the fact he’s playing far better than the score indicates. Sure, he’s made mistakes, hit some bad shots, some poor putts, but there have been far more shots to the good than bad.

When he left the Muirfield Village grounds, he was nine shots out of the lead but very much looking forward to Sunday and beyond, like in two weeks at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, where he won by a record 15 shots in 2000.

“I’m so far back, and there’s too many guys in front of me, I’m not going to win the golf tournament,” Woods said, a rare early admission on his part. “But hopefully I go out and play a positive round of golf tomorrow and get something out of my round like I haven’t done the first three days and get some positive momentum going into the Open.

“My game is right where I feel like it needs to be.”

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