By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 17/06/19 12:50am
Tiger Woods dug deep to salvage a respectable final round of 69 at the 119th US Open having been forced to recover from “another crappy start” at Pebble Beach.
Woods was furious early in his third round when he dropped shots at two of the first three holes, rated two of the easiest on the course, before going on to rescue a level-par 71 which left him 11 shots adrift of 54-hole leader Gary Woodland.
But the three-time champion got off to an even worse start on Sunday, following bogeys at the first two holes with further dropped shots at the fifth and sixth as he plummeted to four over for the tournament.
However, he began his revival with back-to-back birdies at seven and eight, and he enjoyed a rousing finish which he ignited with a superb 40-foot putt from the fringe at the 13th that prompted possibly the loudest cheer of the week.
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The rejuvenated 43-year-old holed from eight feet at the next to get back to level for the day, and the tournament, before adding birdies at the 16th and 18th holes to ensure he would be all smiles as he signed his card.
When asked afterwards how he turned his day around, he said: “I wish I would have known because I would have turned it around a little earlier than that. Again, ! got off to another crappy start and was able to fight it off. Turned it back around and got it to under par for the week which normally is a good thing, but this week the guys are definitely taking to it.
“It was just a matter of can I somehow get it back to even par for the day and the total, so that was our goal. I happened to get a couple more out of it which is great, and it was a nice finish to get to two under par.
“I just kept fighting. Just because I got off to a bad start it doesn’t mean it’s over. Keep grinding, keep playing, and I was able to turn my round around today as well as yesterday. So rounds that could have easily slipped away and kind of gone the other way pretty easily I was able it to turn around.”
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Woods now intends to take a break from the game before returning to action in The 148th Open at Royal Portrush, a venue he admitted he has no previous experience of.
“I think I’m going to take a little bit of time off and enjoy some family time,” the Masters champion added. “I’ve only played Royal County Down, I’ve never been up to Portrush, and I’m looking forward to getting up there and taking a look at the golf course and trying to figure out.
“I hope that my practice rounds are such that we get different winds, especially on a golf course that I’ve never played, and to get a different feel how it could play for the week. And definitely have to do my homework once I get there.
“It’s just trying to wind down from this championship as well as my lifts and getting back into it. And I know that Florida will not be the same temperature as Northern Ireland. I’m not going to be practising with any sweaters on at home, but it will be nice to get to Portrush and get with it again.”
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