Tuesday 20 February 2018

Tiger finds his groove to close in on Farmers title

Tiger Woods hits out of a bunker on the fifth hole during the fourth round of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament in San Diego
Tiger Woods hits out of a bunker on the fifth hole during the fourth round of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament in San Diego

William S Callahan

TIGER WOODS loped to within touching distance of a record eighth career win at Torrey Pines and his fourth PGA Tour victory in 10 months.

A three-under 69 on the famous South Course, where he collected the most recent of his 14 Major victories at the 2008 US Open, left Tiger four clear in the clubhouse after his third round at the weather-delayed Farmers Insurance Open.

Woods has won a PGA Tour record seven times at each of three venues during his stellar career: Firestone, Bay Hill and, of course, Torrey Pines, where he looks simply unbeatable, despite an untidy bogey six at the final hole.

None the worse for his recent missed cut in Abu Dhabi, Tiger found the rough in southern California less penal when he missed the fairway, while his iron and wedge play, for the most part, were imperious.

Even when the poa greens on the South Course became bumpy in the afternoon, hampering his pursuers, Woods putted sublimely as he loped to 14-under, four ahead of his closest challenger in the clubhouse, Erik Compton (71). Compton carved out a lovely birdie-eagle finish for a 71 to move to nine-under.

Chris Wood tore a leaf out of Tiger's book, as the 6' 5" Englishman walked tall at the Qatar Masters.

Wood broke his European Tour 'duck' in such sensational fashion at Doha Golf Club, the floodgates now are expected to open for the 25-year-old.

Minutes after the stunning eagle at 18 that clinched a one-stroke win over Sergio Garcia and George Coetzee, Wood revealed his 'shot of a lifetime' into that final hole was inspired by Tiger. Three ahead overnight but trailing by one walking to 18, Wood striped his drive into the final fairway, 202 yards from the hole.

As he stood over his ball, Wood admitted: "I remembered watching Tiger hit a shot at 18 a few years ago, an eight-iron to six feet, for his first win after a couple of years in which he'd struggled.

"Though Tiger didn't play his best that day, his attitude was, 'I'm going to win this tournament whatever happens.' I had that in the back of my mind ... just to let my swing go, trust it, commit to it, and I hit a really good shot there."

Wood ripped his six-iron across water, right at the pin. His ball rolled to 12 feet. "I looked at the leaderboard for the first time before the putt," added Wood, who holed out in style.

Irish Independent

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