Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Tiger must earn his stripes

Woods' bid for No.1 stumbles at Bay Hill

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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Bill Haas wanted to atone for the way he finished his opening round. He did that and more Friday and was tied for the lead in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

That sure wasn't the case for Tiger Woods.

One shot out of the lead with three holes to play, Woods closed with three sloppy bogeys to fall four shots behind going into the weekend. That makes the chore a little more difficult in his bid to defend his title at Bay Hill and return to No. 1 in the world.

"The good news is we've got 36 holes to go," Woods said. "We've got a long way to go. And certainly four shots can be made up."

Haas not only kept bogeys off his card, his longest putt for par was no more than 4 feet in a clean round of 6-under 66. He was tied with Justin Rose, who was poised to take the outright lead until he was fooled by the speed of the greens after late afternoon showers and finished with a three-putt bogey for a 70.

They were at 9-under 135, one shot ahead of John Huh, who had a 69.

The finishing holes have proved pivotal in the opening two rounds. Haas was challenging for the lead Thursday when he flew his tee shot into the back bunker on the par-3 17th and had to two-putt from 40 feet for bogey. Then, he three-putted from 8 feet on the 18th hole for bogey to ruin his day.

"So to leave, basically giving two away, my goal today was try to get those two back and go from there," Haas said. "That was kind of my mindset today, and then I was able to keep it going."

Woods hit the ball better in the second round and had to settle for a higher score, all because of his finish.

He had about 210 yards from a fairway bunker on the par-5 16th and caught it heavy, slamming the sand with the back of his club even before the ball took one hop and tumbled into the creek short of the green. He pitched up to 25 feet and took bogey. Then, he turned over his tee shot on the 17th and wound up in the rough well behind the green, and his chip went all the way through the green.

One notable player will not be around.

Phil Mickelson four-putted from five feet on the 13th hole for triple bogey, and whatever hopes he had of making the cut ended when his tee shot sailed left on No. 9 and went out of bounds. Mickelson closed with a triple bogey and a 79, his highest score ever in 48 rounds at Bay Hill.

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 23, 2013 C7

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