Tiger Woods goes low at Riviera but still 12 back of leader Rahm
Tiger Woods nearly posted an albatross while shooting one of the lowest third-round scores at the Genesis Invitational in Pacific Palisades, California, on Saturday where he will head into the final round 12 shots back of leader Jon Rahm.
Woods jumped 32 spots up the leaderboard after carding a four-under-par 67 at Riviera that was a seven-stroke improvement over his second-round score and lower than every golfer except Denny McCarthy (64) and world number three Rahm (65).
The round left Woods at three-under on the week in his first start of the season and all the more impressive considering he played only nine competitive rounds last year after sustaining traumatic injuries to his right leg in a 2021 car accident.
“I’ve been pretty one dimensional on how to hit my tee shots. I’ve kind of gone to my little — my stock shot, because I just haven’t played enough where I feel like I can hit different shots,” Woods told reporters.
“The way the golf course is playing, as fast as it is, a flat cut can go a very long way here, so I’ve been able to hit that shot. Then with the firm greens, I thoroughly enjoy that for my iron game, and finally made some putts.”
Few could have possibly expected much from Woods considering he finished his second round on Friday having bogeyed three of his final four holes and made the cut on the number.
But Woods put on a ball-striking display during a round that included one eagle, three birdies and a bogey. It was also his lowest score since he returned to action after his car accident.
Woods, who started the round on the back nine, reached the turn at two under after birdies on his first and fifth holes before turning things up a notch.
The 15-times major champion delighted the gallery at the 509-yard, par-five first hole with a near albatross when his second shot from 190 yards settled three feet from the cup to set up a tap-in eagle.
Woods reached five under on the day when he drained an 11-foot birdie putt at the fifth hole before giving a stroke back at the seventh where he missed the green with his approach shot.
When asked if this week’s performance might convince him to play another event ahead of the April 6-9 Masters Woods, who admitted to feeling a “bit on the sore side” after the third round, did not rule out the possibility.
“Hopefully, tomorrow go out and play a good one, post this event, we’ll go ahead and reassess everything and see where we are, see how I recover from a full tournament,” said Woods.
“I haven’t done this in a while. The last time I did it was at The Open Championship, so it’s been a while. Hopefully, the body will still feel good sometime later next week. As of right now, recovery time will be fun.”