Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Woods roars back into contention

Tiger Woods has moved into contention at Doral (AP)
Tiger Woods has moved into contention at Doral

World number one Tiger Woods put his back problem well behind him to shoot the round of the week on Doral's Blue Monster course and put himself in contention for an eighth WGC-Cadillac Championship.

The American, who pulled out of last week's Honda Classic midway through his final round because of injury, produced his best round for some considerable time to shoot a six-under-par 66.

That put him just three strokes off the lead set by compatriot Patrick Reed but Woods, who has won four times at this venue before it was extensively remodelled for this year's tournament, is the favourite heading into the last day.

And though he is still not 100% fit Woods proved he is still capable of producing the form which made him the most feared golfer on the planet.

"I was pretty sore last night but I'm having treatment day and my therapists are doing a fantastic job of getting me out here and playing and that's probably my most complete round (of the year)," he said in his post-round press conference.

"My swing is coming around. I just need to get healthy enough to put the club in that position.

"It was nice to get back in the tournament again. I held it together yesterday on a long, tough day and that gave me a chance: I was only six back and I thought that was definitely do-able.

"I got my speed right (on the greens) and I hit the ball better and left myself in good spots.

"It is a totally golf course today, Yesterday was not what we intended it to be. Today it is so much more playable."

Woods' tally of eight birdies was better than he had managed in the first two days and with just two bogeys he lifted himself to one under, within touching distance of the lead.

His iron play was particularly impressive, hitting approaches to third, fifth, eighth, 11th and also his tee shot at the short 15th to within 15 feet.

Reed, who has held at least a share of the lead every day, shot a three-under 69, which included a 41-foot eagle putt at the eighth, to reach four under.

Compatriots Jason Dufner and Hunter Mahan are both two under after rounds of 68 and 71 respectively with Welshman Jamie Donaldson tied with Woods for fourth on one under after a 71.

"I am enjoying myself. It is a tough battle out there as the course is playing really difficult," Donaldson told Sky Sports.

"I am getting slowly more used to playing golf over here. I just need to make a few more putts."

Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell let things slip slightly as he dropped from one under to one over after a 73 but compatriot Rory McIlroy fared even worse.

He had two double-bogey sevens on the par fives at eight and 10 after finding the water but improved the look of his card slightly with a chip-in birdie from the side of the 18th to finish with a 75 for three over par.

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