Tiger (67) cards his best round to par since ’20

  • Senior college football writer
  • Author of seven books on college football
  • Graduate of the University of Georgia

LOS ANGELES — The field for this week’s Genesis Invitational included 23 of the top 25 players in the world, including the top three — Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm — and nine of the top 10.

All but seven of those 23 players made the 36-hole cut and were still playing at Riviera Country Club on Saturday.

Few of them were better in the third round than Tiger Woods, who came into the week ranked 1,294th in the world and hadn’t played in an official PGA Tour event in more than seven months.

After making the 36-hole cut on the number, the 15-time major champion carded a 4-under 67 on Saturday to move to 3 under after 54 holes. Woods, 47, was tied for 26th when he walked off the course after starting the round tied for 58th.

Woods matched his lowest score to par in a round since he carded a 4-under 68 after 18 holes of the Masters in November 2020. He’s looking for his first top-25 finish since he tied for ninth at the Farmers Insurance Open in January 2020.

It will be the first time Woods has played 18 holes in four consecutive days since finishing 47th at the Masters in April. That was his first official event since he was seriously injured in a car wreck outside Los Angeles in February 2021. He played just nine rounds in three major championships last season.

After posting bogeys in three of his last four holes on Friday, putting him in danger of missing the weekend at the tournament he hosts, Woods was much better Saturday. He carded an eagle and three birdies and didn’t record a bogey until the 16th hole he played.

Woods hit nine of 14 fairways, 12 of 18 greens and averaged 306.4 yards off the tee.

Making the turn at 2 under for the round, Woods had his best shot of the day on the par-5 first hole. After his 316-yard drive rolled into the rough, he had 190 yards left. He cut his second shot around a greenside bunker and his ball stopped 3 feet past the hole. He carded an eagle on what has been the easiest hole at Riviera to move to 4 under.

On the par-3 fourth, Woods blasted his tee shot over the green. With 43 feet left, he made a spectacular chip shot from the rough. His ball stopped a foot from the hole to save par. On the next hole, he made a 12-foot birdie putt to get to 5 under in the round. Then he added another great chip from the fringe to avoid a bogey on the par-3 sixth.

Woods’ lone bogey of the round came on the seventh hole when his second shot landed short and left of the green. He chipped up to 22 feet and left the putt short to drop back to 4 under.

Woods started his round on the back nine for the second day in a row. Playing with South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Austria’s Matthias Schwab, Woods got off to a much better start than he did in the second round when he carded a 3-over 74. He drained a 16-foot birdie on No. 10 and nearly made a 7-footer on the par-5 11th.

On the par-4 13th, Woods’ tee shot sailed right and his ball ended up in a jacket that a fan was wearing around his waist. The ball fell to the ground when the fan removed his jacket, so Woods was given a free drop. He ended up making par on the hole.

After nearly acing the par-3 14th hole on Friday, Woods’ tee shot rolled off the back of the green and settled on the fringe. After getting a good look at his line from Schwab’s putt, Woods sank a 24-footer to move to 2 under in the round. He had birdie putts on each of the next four holes as well, including an 11-footer on No. 16 that appeared to be a misread, but didn’t get them to fall. He was never in danger of making a bogey while carding a 2-under 34 on his first nine holes.

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