Friday, July 2, 2010
Woods shoots 70; putter remains balky
By Jason Sobel
NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. -- Tiger Woods won't be on the leaderboard going into the weekend at the AT&T National, but he will still be competing in the tournament.
The defending champion followed an opening-round 73 with an even-par 70 on Friday that kept him on the cut line and playing the weekend, something that gives him equal reason for both optimism and pessimism.
"It's not quite where it needs to be, not quite sharp yet," Woods said of his current play. "I hit it awesome, putt awful. I putt great, hit it awful. It's always something."
Seeking his first victory of the season, Woods trails 36-hole leader Justin Rose by 10 strokes entering the final two rounds. The world's No. 1-ranked player is tied for 64th entering the weekend.
Starting on the back nine at Aronimink Golf Club, Woods birdied two of his first four holes en route to an opening 1-under 34. After making the turn, he missed a par attempt from nine feet on No. 1, then rebounded with back-to-back birdies, draining putts from six and 28 feet, respectively, on the third and fourth holes.
Once again, however, he was undone by the final stretch of holes in his round.
After playing his last five holes in 4-over-par one day earlier, Woods posted two bogeys in addition to three pars on that stretch Friday. He missed the green on the par-3 fifth hole, then chipped on and two-putted, then later failed to convert a par effort of just over two feet on the eighth hole.
"It's just one of those things where the last two days I've gone the wrong direction coming in," he said. "Instead of finishing off the round, I added to it."
One day after referring his putting as "awful," Woods reduced the number of strokes on the greens from 30 to 28, but remained displeased with his performance.
"I'm driving it on a string right now, and that's fun," he said, "but if you don't make putts, no matter how good you hit the golf ball, you're not going to shoot good scores."
In five previous starts this year, Woods owns a pair of fourth-place finishes, a tie for 19th, a missed cut and a withdrawal. He is currently winless on the PGA Tour in six consecutive appearances, dating back to the end of last season. That is his longest such streak since the beginning of 2005.
Woods had never before played a competitive tournament at Aronimink prior to this week. Dating back to 2007, he is winless in his last five starts in similar scenarios.
Jason Sobel covers golf for ESPN.com.