BSP-03 Golf: Woods makes cut with closing birdie at Torrey Pines

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BSP-03

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Golf: Woods makes cut with closing birdie at Torrey Pines

LA JOLLA, United States, Jan 27, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Tiger Woods birdied his
final hole on Friday capping a back-nine rally that saw him make the cut in
his return to the US PGA Tour at the Farmers Insurance Open.

The 14-time major champion wrestled four birdies from his last nine holes
on the North Course at Torrey Pines, carding a one-under par 71.

That was just enough to make the cut — his first since the Wyndham
Championship in August of 2015 where he finished tied for 10th.

Since then Woods has battled back trouble that sidelined him for all of
2016. He is playing his first official tournament since missing the cut here
last year in an abortive comeback bid that ended with spinal fusion surgery
in April.

“I was grinding my way around the golf course today,” said Woods, who hit
just three of 14 fairways and nine of 18 greens in regulation. “I fought
hard. I was trying to post a number, which I was able to do.”

Woods was one shot outside the cut line when arrived at his final hole,
the par-five ninth.

He was in the right rough off the tee and his second shot left him on the
edge of the green, 75 feet from the pin.

He nestled his first putt a few feet from the cup and made that for the
needed birdie — capping a 71 for a total of 143 and offering a big smile to
cheering fans.

Woods was 10-shots off the 36-hole lead held by American Ryan Palmer, who
carded a five-under par 67 on the North Course for 11-under 133.

Spain’s defending champion Jon Rahm, who could seize the world number one
ranking from Dustin Johnson with a victory, carded a six-under 66 and was
alone in second on 134.

Luke List carded a 66 to share third place on 135 with first-round leader
Tony Finau, who carded a 70.

Woods had opened the tournament on Thursday with a respectable even-par 72
on the South Course — scene of his 14th and most recent major title at the
2008 US Open.

But he struggled off the tee all day — sending his first drive at least
50 yards left.

He laid up in the rough and two-putted for par at the par-five 10th from
about 40 feet.

But he couldn’t get out of trouble at the par-four 13th, his fourth hole
of the day, after another tee shot went left into a scrub hazard.

An irked Woods took an unplayable lie, then missed the green. His chip
rolled through the putting surface and he walked off with a double-bogey that
put him two-over and outside the cutline.

– Solid turnaround –

Woods responded with four birdies coming home.

He gave his massive gallery — sent scampering several times by his errant
drives — something to cheer about for the first time all day when he rolled
in a 50-foot birdie bomb at the first hole.

“It was nice to get one to fall in there and get something positive going
into the back nine,” Woods said.

He got back to even par with a birdie at the fifth, a short par-five,
where a solid drive trickled into the first cut of rough and his second shot
left him off the green but his chip left him an easy birdie.

“My short game’s been good all week,” Woods said. “I’m just trying to get
used to the firmness of the greens. We can hear the ball land from the
fairway.”

Woods got up and down for birdie at the seventh, but was back outside the
cut line after a bogey at the par-three eighth.

“I was just trying to get under par for the day,” he said of his inward
push. “I thought that would be a good, solid turnaround from being two-over
at the turn.”

Woods was looking forward to testing his game under pressure over two more
rounds. He’ll tee off on Saturday at the 10th hole of the South Course at
10:10 a.m. (18:10 GMT).

“It’s one thing to do it at home, it’s totally another thing to do it out
here,” he said. “These guys are all going low and I haven’t done that in a
long time.”

BSS/AFP/MRI/0848 hrs