Tiger Woods recovered from a bogey-bogey start to his third round at the Masters on Saturday to record an even par round of 70 and remain at 4-over (220) for the tournament. He was in a tie for 42nd when he walked off the course shortly before 3 p.m. ET, with the leaders yet to tee off.
Despite hitting only four fairways Saturday, it was Woods’ best round of the tournament after recording a 73 in the opening round and a 75 on Friday.
Woods bogeyed each of his first two holes Saturday to fall back to 6-over, but recovered the shots with birdies on Nos. 6 and 8 to make the turn at even par 36. He parred the first five holes on his back nine before a bogey at the par-5 15th hole. Woods followed that with a birdie at the par-3 16th and closed out his round with a pair of pars.
He hit 12 of 18 greens and needed 29 putts to get around Augusta National on Saturday. He continues to fail to consistently take advantage of the par-5s that have long been a source of his Masters success. Woods was 1-over on the par-5s Saturday – two bogeys, a birdie and a par – and is only 1-under on the par-5s this week.
“Again, I didn’t play the par-5s well and I didn’t hit a lot of good iron shots,” Woods told reporters after his round. “It was the same as yesterday.”
He has hit only 19 of 42 fairways through the first three rounds.
“This week, I’m hitting so many good putts, they’re just not going in,” Woods said, shaking his head. “But I’m not hitting it close enough. I’m not getting up there, I’m not taking advantage of the par-5s, and consequently a good-fought round is even par.
Woods did fare better than Phil Mickelson, who triple-bogeyed his opening hole en route to a 2-over 74 on Saturday. Mickelson also bogeyed his second hole before recovering three shots with an eagle on the par-5 eighth and a birdie on No. 9 to make the turn in 37.
He traded a bogey and a birdie on Nos. 13 and 14 and closed with a bogey on No. 18 after leaving his third shot on the front side of the green with a back pin placement and two-putting.
Woods was asked what he hoped to accomplish during Sunday’s final round while being out of contention.
“Hopefully I can hit my irons better,” he said. “It’s been scratchy this week. I just haven’t gotten it done. I feel like I’m driving it better than I have all year, but I am not capitalizing on it. And when I did miss, I missed in the wrong spots. My swing is just off with my irons, and just at the wrong time.”
Woods, who fell out of the top 1,000 while recovering from fusion surgery on his back last year, will return to the top 100 by making the cut this week.
“I’m just kind of gradually working on it,” he said when asked if it marked any kind of milestone in his comeback. “Just gradually building. I was pretty far out there… I’ve had some success so far in this comeback. I’m getting there. I wish this week was a little better.
“Hopefully tomorrow I can shoot something to get me to even par or even in the red. I think that will be a good goal tomorrow. And I hope I can get it done.”
–Field Level Media