But DeChambeau was up to the task and rattled in a confident putt for victory and earn warm congratulations from tournament host Jack Nicklaus, lifting his first PGA Tour title since breaking his duck at the John Deere Classic past year. "Needs to understand who pays his wages". Course: Muirfield Village GC. He missed the green from the fairway on the 18th on the first extra hole. He three-putted the 16th and 18th greens and took 31 putts total.
The game continues to show progress, and the roars are still vintage.
It did look as if Woods would mount a charge for the ages out of the gate.
Granted, this was of a different magnitude from his close calls in both Tampa and Orlando.
Tiger could easily have the lead at this point, but struggled with the putter and finds himself four shots back of the leader, Joaquin Niemann, who is looking to become the youngest victor on the PGA Tour since 1931. There was no single shot that cost him, a binary result where his fate changed with a single swipe.
Woods, seeking his first win since 2013, had two birdies in his first five but endured further frustration with his putter, then drove out of bounds at the 13th and went on to finish in a tie for 23rd with Scotland's Martin Laird on nine under. He ultimately missed out on a playoff by six shots. He finished with an 8-foot birdie on the 18th hole.
While every player can recount with vivid detail the ones they let get away, especially on greens as slick and undulating as the surfaces at Jack's place, Woods has known all week that he had only one club to blame.
"I missed a lot of short putts, which is something I don't normally do, which is just frustrating", he said. "I'm in a position where if I shoot another good round like I have the last two days, I've got a chance".
That would be in reference to the U.S. Open, where he'll make his 26 attempt at major No. 15.
Despite the frustration, Woods was optimistic about his weekend chances. And he was 72nd among the 73 players who played four rounds in strokes-gained putting, a statistic that measures how a player fares compared to the entire field.
More thunderstorms were expected Sunday.
For 72 holes, Woods was -7.695 meaning he gave up more than 7 shots on the greens; had that number been 0, in theory he would have finished seven strokes better and been leading or certainly in a position to chase down eventual playoff victor Bryson DeChambeau. The final round will be threesomes teeing off earlier than usual to account for the forecast.
"Just keep thinking about those two 3-footers I missed, " said DeChambeau, who was at 14-under 202.
Woods wasn't alone in missing short putts.
Woods was already looking ahead and suggested that his putting woes are a "minor tweak here and there".
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