Sunday, 24 June, 2018

Tiger Woods: I'm finding the rhythm of the rounds, I'm hitting shots

Very special to beat Tiger says Casey Very special to beat Tiger says Casey
Isaac Mcdaniel | 12 March, 2018, 09:02

Unfortunately, for the headline writers and fans who packed the fairways at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, the fairytale finish was not quite to be, with Woods unable to back up with the birdie on 18 that was required to force a playoff with leader Paul Casey of England. From there he elected to putt through the edge of the fringe and his birdie effort came up woefully short and ended up tumbling back down the slope to his feet. Then Woods dropped a 44-foot bomb for birdie on the 17th hole to get to 9 under.

Woods closed with a 1-under 70 and tied for second, his highest finish in an official tournament since he tied for second at The Barclays in 2013.

Woods has to wait at least another week, with the next stop at a golf course Arnold Palmer built and Woods used to own.

"It feels good to be up here", Woods, who has not won since 2013, said. I wasn't as sharp as I wanted to be. "It was one of those days I kept getting a half-club".

Woods, playing just his fourth PGA Tour event since his latest back surgery, briefly held a share of the lead after an opening-hole birdie but bogeyed the fourth and struggled to make further inroads.

Tiger Woods reflected positively on his week's efforts after coming up one shot shy at the Valspar Championship, but rued the "little mistakes" that ultimately cost him victory.

Brandt Snedeker (-8) - Snedeker has played with Woods quite a bit this year, and will do so again Sunday.

"Just a couple of things with my set-up and I was just trying to get my posture organised a little bit more. little things (that) just make for better passes through the golf ball".

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"I was very thankful I made that putt on 17", Woods said. "Couple putts here and there would have been a different story".

The gathering wave of Tiger-mania sweeping toward next month's Masters will reach new heights at the Bay Hill Invitational this week, after a near miss at the Valspar Championship.

On the 17th hole, after a dozen straight pars, following a string of putts shading just a twitch to the right and to the left, Tiger Woods was on the threshold of a remarkable renaissance.

Asked how he felt being in contention for a first victory in nearly five years, Woods added: "It felt very comfortable". One shot behind with one par-4 hole to play.

These will be invaluable reps for Woods, who gets more comfortable with what his fused back will allow him to do every single round.

As the defending champion and fellow Canadian golfer who has lived through near misses, Adam Hadwin sees good times ahead for his compatriot Corey Conners. "I think two or three times on the golf course our paths crossed, there's a lot more fuss going on the periphery".

But in that time, much has changed in Casey's life as he explained.

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