Sports

Woods lurking close by chase for title at the Hero World Challenge

V Krishnaswamy Albany | Updated on December 07, 2019 Published on December 07, 2019

Tiger Woods

Gary Woodland at the Hero World Challenge.

Tiger Woods stitched another superb round of 67, that matched his younger partner and Jupiter, Florida, neighbour, Justin Thomas, to stay within striking distance of the leader, Gary Woodland at the Hero World Challenge.

With one final round to go, Woods was 11-under to Woodland’s 13-under as the latter once again showed a particular fondness for the closing holes, holing birdies on 17-18. The US Open champion, Woodland, had three in three a day earlier.

Thomas, has not been outscored by Woods in the last 13 times they have played together, will go head to head with Woods for the third time this week.

 

 

 

While the focus has all been on the Americans, who fly straight from here to Melbourne for the Presidents Cup, two of the three Europeans in the field, Henrik Stenson (68) and Jon Rahm (69) stayed in the frame. Stenson, winless in his last 49 starts dating back to August, 2017, was second, while Rahm, who gets married next week, is looking for his third win in as many starts, is Tied third with Woods and Thomas.

Amidst all this, the halfway leader, Patrick Reed suffered a disastrous two-shot penalty, which he was given at the end of the round for “improving the lie of the ball” on the Par-5 11th. Reed (74) dropped to 10-under and sixth.

Reed may have been closer despite a frustrating round. At the end of the round, he was informed that he may have moved sand before taking his shot on 11th. Reed watched the video moving sand away from his golf ball in the waste area and admitted to the violation. The already painful bogey six on the Par-5 turned to a disastrous triple bogey eight.

Reed said he did not realize the club had brushed away sand and said, "I didn't feel it drag." However, he added, “So after seeing the video, it's a two-stroke penalty. I accept that."

It was a tight leaderboard with six players, including Woods, separated by three shots.

Woods, seeking a third win in 2019 after Masters and Zozo in Japan, finally found a birdie on 18th. In his last 36 holes, Woods has dropped just one bogey against 12 birdies. His previous bogey before the eighth in the third round was the double on 18thon first day.

Woods said, “My swing feels good. Since I've come back from my little knee procedure, I've swung the club well. I hit it well in Japan. I'm hitting it well here. I just need to make a few more putts. We have five par 5s and most of them are reachable even with some of the different winds. So it's certainly conceivable to shoot anywhere between seven and nine under par.”

Woods ready for the Presidents Cup as a playing captain next week added, “I just have to focus on going out there and making birdies. And then I have 23 hours on a plane to recover."

Woodland dropped only one shot and finished with a flourish. He knocked home a 30-foot putt on the par-3 17thand then with the wind at his back, he hit a wedge to three feet for a closing birdie.

"It was a nice finish, same as yesterday," said Woodland. "I am so excited about where I am.”

Stenson (68) was five-under through 17 and 13-under before the bogey on 18thand Woodland pounced on it with a birdie on 18th to vault ahead to 13-under.

Stenson twice hit a sprinkler cup on fifth and sixth holes, said, “We'll see if we can carry out another good round tomorrow, but yeah, any good result is always welcome. I've slipped down a little bit in the world rankings, so it would be nice to fill up a few good points here before Santa Claus arrives.”

Published on December 07, 2019
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