TIGER WOODS PUT back-to-back rounds in the 60s together for the first time since the start of the season on Saturday but it still wasn’t enough to move into contention at the Frys.com Open.
The event is led by Woods’ compatriot Briny Baird (-13) after three rounds – two shots ahead of England’s Paul Casey and Ernie Els of South Africa – while the former number one is back in a tie for 38th on four-under par.
After making a mess of the par-three holes, Woods had to settle for a three-under card of 68. He was the first to tee off — on the back nine — and while two straight birdies pulled him within three shots, the leaders were in the group ahead of him and just getting started.
The 35-year-old had a chip from just off the green at 16 lip out of the cup, and then didn’t come close to driving the green on the par-four 17th even though it required a straight tee shot to a pin in the middle of the putting surface.
Woods at least broke 70 in back-to-back rounds for the first time since his 69-69 start at Torrey Pines in his first tournament of the year. He finished poorly that week and tied for 44th. Afterwards, he said:
“I was very close to really putting it together on the front nine — birdie 17 and 18, and all of a sudden, I’m five-under.”
He didn’t though, and wasn’t. His tee shot on the 17th, which played only 294 yards over a pond, was pulled badly to the left in deep grass around a bunker and Woods chopped it out across the green. He hit two good shots on the 18th, only to miss an eight-foot birdie putt.
“It’s getting better,” Woods said. “I’m improving day by day, which is good. Obviously, I need to improve a lot and make the putts and post a really low one (on Sunday).”