Tiger striding towards lion form on greens
Woods, trying to recapture the form that won 14 major titles, says he made "big strides" in reviving his game at the PGA Quicken Loans National despite a failed Sunday charge.
Tournament host Woods birdied five of the first 10 holes, including a 42-foot birdie putt at the par-3 ninth, but then made bogeys on three of the next four holes.
The 39-year-old American answered with an eight-foot birdie putt at 17 but settled for a three-under par 68 final round to finish on eight-under 276 - his lowest 72-hole score in relation to par at a PGA event since the 2013 BMW Championship.
"I started off well and really hit the ball well and looking at the whole week in general, felt like I made some big strides," Woods said.
"My short game is starting to come back to where it used to be. Everything is kind of trending in the correct direction now."
Woods has slumped to 266th in world rankings and fired some of his worst career rounds this season due to injuries and swing changes. He missed the cut at the US and British Opens, eclipsing good feelings he said that he took from St. Andrews.
"This is much better, much, much, much better to have a round like today," Woods said. "Even though I struggled as bad as I did, one thing has been missing. Trying to make an up and down here and there, scramble and turn a round (from) awful into a scoring round.
Coming off a third-round 74 that ended his title hopes, Woods said he fixed Saturday swing errors by "basically just set up and organized back to basics. Get it organized at address and from there go ahead and go."
'Total control of the ball'
Woods ran off three birdies in a row starting with an 11-foot putt at the third. That was followed by a 10-footer at four and a four-footer at the par-5 fifth. He closed the front nine with a monster putt to draw a roar from the crowd.
"Hit the ball really well," Woods said. "I didn't really miss a shot on the front nine. It was a very solid round. It was a mixed bag as far as results but the fact I had total control of the golf ball was nice."
An eight-foot birdie putt to open the back nine put him four off the lead but a three-foot par putt horseshoed the edge of the cup and came back to him to start a bogey stretch at 11.
"I was 5-under through 10 and really had it going. I took my eye off it. I thought I had made it. Next thing I know it's coming right back to my feet again," Woods said. "That definitely didn't feel very good. Then the tee shot on 12 was a tough one."
Woods found water off the 12th tee and again on his third shot at 14, both on the way to bogeys, and his birdie at 17 was too little and too late.
The former world number one has 79 career PGA Tour titles, three shy of Sam Snead's all-time record, but has not won a title since the 2013 World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational and has not won a major since the 2008 US Open.
Woods, who is not qualified for the US PGA season-ending playoffs, will try to move closer to the record 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus in two weeks at the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.
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