Tuesday 24 April 2018

Woods still eyes No 1 despite horror finish

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods

William S Callahan

TIGER WOODS endured a nightmare finish at Bay Hill but still believes he can knock Rory McIlroy off the top of the world.

Woods played sublimely for 15 holes of the second round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, then stumbled to a horrible hat-trick of bogeys on a closing stretch he probably knows better than his own back yard.

Trailing joint leaders Justin Rose and Bill Haas by four after signing for a 70, Woods is still within range of the eighth career win he needs at Bay Hill tomorrow to replace McIlroy at world No 1.

Yet, after romping through his first 15 holes in five-under-par – despite missing a couple of ludicrously short putts – Tiger lost the polish and serenity he'd shown a fortnight back at Doral as he romped to his second PGA Tour win of 2013. Woods was unable to conceal his disgust on the par-five 16th after hitting his second shot from a fairway trap into water, letting slip an expletive as he slammed his club into the sand.

A bogey-six there contrasted starkly with the sweet three he took at the same hole on Thursday or the facile eagle he'd landed earlier at six, where Woods holed out from eight feet.

Further frustration followed at the 221-yard 17th, where Woods pulled his tee shot long and left of the green on his way to another clumsy bogey. The final insult came at the last as Woods, ignoring the teeming rain, made five after driving into the right rough.

Rose, playing too well to be ruffled by a three-putt bogey at 18, also signed for a 70 and a share of the lead with Haas on nine-under.

Graeme McDowell was expected to make the cut on the mark, two-over, after an untidy 74 but Phil Mickelson (79), Brandt Snedeker and Ernie Els were among the big names to miss out.

Thunderstorms again wreaked havoc at the Maybank Malaysian Open.

Charl Schwartzel and Ashun Wu were both nine-under after second-round 68's but Kiradech Aphibarnrat was 10-under through 27 holes after completing the front nine in three-under.

Arnold Palmer Invitational,

Live, Sky Sports 3, 4.30pm

Malaysian Open,

Live, Sky Sports 2, 6.0am

Irish Independent

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