Tiger ‘a little hot’ after poor finish to Open round


PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Fifteen pars typically go a long way at a U.S. Open. Just not this one. Or at least not yet.

That’s why Tiger Woods was seething as he came off the ninth green, having just signed for a 1-over-par 72 in the second round of the U.S. Open after closing with two bogeys.

“Yeah, a little hot right now,” Woods said. “Not a good finish.”

Certainly the bogeys on the eighth and ninth holes — after none all day — left the 15-time major winner in a bad mood as he completed 36 holes at 142, even par.

But it was the missed opportunities that ultimately made the difference in a round that could have put him closer to the lead, instead of one that left him seven shots back of Justin Rose after the first wave finished Friday afternoon at Pebble Beach.

Missed putts inside 10 feet for birdies at the fourth and sixth holes were particularly painful, and he also had decent chances at the first and second holes. Frustrating, too, was the inability to get other opportunities, nor taking advantage of the “scoring” holes from No. 1 through No. 7.

Woods made 14 straight pars after his only birdie of the round.

Before his bogey at the eighth hole, Woods had gone 29 straight without a bogey — his longest stretch at any U.S. Open, better than the 26 in a row he had to complete the 2000 win at Pebble Beach by 15 shots.

Instead of being in contention, Woods is hovering around 30th place.

It was Woods’ first made cut at the U.S. Open since 2013, having since missed three because of injury.

“Overall, I kept leaving myself above the hole,” Woods said. “Unlike yesterday, when I missed it, I missed in the correct spots below the hole. Today, I never had that many looks from below the hole. And the one I did have, I made at 11.”

That was his second hole of the day — and Woods would not make another the rest of the round.

Meanwhile, Rose made three birdies and two bogeys to shoot 70 and lead after the morning wave by two strokes. And Jordan Spieth, who was seemingly all over the place in a round of 69, made seven birdies. Woods has made just four for the tournament.

At 2 under through 16 holes of his round, Woods was still in good shape. However, a poor approach at No. 8 left him scrambling, and he was never making a 15-footer from above the hole. Then he pulled his drive left at No. 9, laid up into the rough and then hit a great recovery shot to 7 feet — only to miss the par putt.

“There’s so many guys with a chance to win,” Woods said. “I’m still in the ballgame. I’ve got a long way to go. And we’ll see what shapes up for tomorrow.”

The problem for Woods is the number of players between him and the lead and the inability to play super aggressive on a course that is getting firmer.

“Tiger doesn’t waste a shot,” said Rose, who also played two rounds with him two weeks ago at the Memorial Tournament. “People think he’s a very flamboyant player and an aggressive player. He’s one of the most conservative players out there and strategic players. So that style of golf really lends itself well this week.”

Unfortunately for Woods, it’s not producing the results.

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