19 March, 2018
With the Masters looming large in the minds of players and fans alike, the Arnold Palmer Invitational is proving a compelling warm up for the year's first Grand Slam event. Woods strung together three birdies in four holes un his front nine, but undid most of that work with bogeys on the 2nd and 8th holes.
"Northern Irishman McIlroy, who holed an eagle, four birdies and a bogey on Saturday, added: "... golf is different than a football game, and there's etiquette involved, and you don't want people to be put off from bringing their kids when people are shouting stuff out. He made up for it best that he could by making more than 115 feet worth of putts. On the par-5 16th, with his ball just below the fairway bunker lip, he decided against laying up, then flew trees and water to find the green, later two-putting for another birdie.
When he slipped home a 12-footer to birdie the 18 and ignite more thunder, Woods casually assessed the situation and stayed unfazed by the commotion.
The third-round 69 breaks a small string of third-round improvement during Woods' three previous made cuts this year.
The smile was quickly back on the 14-time major winner's face as he birdied the fourth and sixth, both par fives, and it remained firmly in place as he followed a poor tee shot on the par-three seventh by holing from 70 feet for an unlikely birdie. "If I drive it like that again over the weekend I feel like I'll have a good chance". Henrik Stenson leads, but Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and others are in the hunt.
"I think that I didn't really miss a shot the last six holes", said Stenson, who was at 12-under 204.
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Woods, an eight-times victor of the event, birdied the 18th for a 69 and a share of 10th at 209. After a birdie on No. 11, he sandwiched a bogey on the 17th with a pair of birdies, including one on the closing hole to climb a stroke closer toward contention.
Henrik Stenson has another chance to win at Bay Hill, and he made it a little bit tougher on Tiger Woods. A victory on Sunday could get him back on track, and it would be his first worldwide victory since his incredible performance at the 2016 TOUR Championship.
"I started the day just outside the top 10 and wanted to at least give myself a chance going into tomorrow, so it was a great day out there", he said. "Can't complain about anything I did today".
"I played well, scored well, it was a good day all around", Woods said.
"Over the weekend a year ago I was hitting driver pretty much everywhere, leaving myself wedges in. Some went in, some didn't".