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Tiger Woods’s late surge fizzles in final round of Arnold Palmer Invitational

March 18, 2018

Tiger Woods put a charge into the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational when he surged early on the back nine and got within one of the lead, but he lost steam toward the end of his round, finishing with a three-under 69. Woods finished 10 under and tied for fifth, eight behind winner Rory McIlroy.

Woods started the day five shots behind 54-hole leader Henrik Stenson, shot two under on the front nine and remained five back at the turn. He birdied both par-5s on the front nine, knocking in short putts on the 4th and 6th, barely missing his 13-footer for eagle on the latter. He added his third birdie of the day on the par-4 8th, when he stuck his approach to six feet and made the putt. He missed the fairway and green on the par-4 9th, leading to his only bogey of the front nine.

But Woods bounced back on the 10th, knocking his approach to eight feet and making birdie. He then added back-to-back birdies on the par-5 12th and par-4 13th, which moved him to 12 under and one behind co-leaders McIlroy and Stenson. On 12 he splashed out of the green-side bunker and drained a four-footer, and on 13 he cashed in from 13 feet.

But Woods fell back on the par-5 16th, when he knocked his tee shot out of bounds. He made bogey and dropped to 11 under, four back of McIlroy at the time, who was coming off two straight birdies. Woods also bogeyed 17 after missing the green.

“I was caught [on 16],” Woods said. “I didn’t decide what I was going to do. If I hit driver I got to fit it, I got to cut it in there. And I was, in the back of my mind, I said, why don’t you just bomb it over the top. And it was like a 315, 320 carry. And I bailed out and hit a bad shot and that’s on me for not committing.”

Woods’s T5 comes a week after he finished T2 at the Valspar, and he’s now placed in the top 12 in his last three events. His next start is the Masters, which he hasn’t played since 2015.

“If you would have given me this opportunity in December and January I would have taken it in a heartbeat,” he said. “Everything was an unknown. I didn’t know what I was going to feel like, what I was going to do, what swing I was going to make. Especially Torrey Pines, was the rough going to be the same pain I was going to feel like I felt last year. I don’t know. But coming through that I’ve gotten a little better, a little bit sharper and I worked my way up there into the leaderboard back-to-back weeks and had a chance, which is nice.”

Check out a few of his highlights below.