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Woods' round 'gross,' while troubles among leaders predicts wild finish

Tod Leonard, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Golf

"I know how good Americans are and they love golf, and then if they know me or not, I don't really care," Noren said.

The competitive focus of the tournament turned away from Tiger Woods' first participation on a weekend in an official event since 2015 -- though it didn't look like that because Woods easily commanded the largest gallery when he teed off on the 10th hole.

Woods drove his ball all over Torrey Pines' gorgeous expanse, and afterward assessed his round as "gross." But he did master work with his short game to score 2-under-par 70 and move way up the leaderboard into a tie for 39th place at 3 under.

Asked what he would have scored had his chipping and putting not saved him, Woods replied, "It would have been snowing on me."

As in snowmen -- 8s on his card.

As with his first two rounds, Woods could barely find a fairway -- he hit only three -- but his score was salvaged with birdies on three par-5s and some phenomenal displays of touch around the greens.

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Woods missed half the greens, but only failed to get up-and-down twice in making bogeys -- both on par-3s.

Among his most memorable saves: Woods flew a 7-iron over the green on par-3 third that is perched on a cliff. From deep below the green, he flopped a shot that ended up 21/2 feet from the cup.

"It was a struggle out here," Woods said. "I didn't hit it worth a darn all day. I was really struggling out there to find anything that was a resemblance of a golf swing.

"But I was scoring. I was chipping, putting, I was grinding."

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