Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Tiger surges... for a while

Creates drama but falls short

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LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England -- When Tiger Woods rolled in a 60-foot putt on the sixth hole, it looked as though he was ready to make a charge at the British Open.

The fist-pump. The big smile. The roar of the gallery, drifting across Royal Lytham & St. Annes.

All the signs were there.

A couple of hours later, Woods tapped in for par at No. 18.

The charge had fizzled. There was still a lot of work to do.

The good news for Woods is he didn't collapse Saturday, even after a poor start, as opposed to his dismal weekend performance at the U.S. Open last month. But he's never won any of his 14 major championships by rallying in the final round, and he'll have to make up a daunting five-shot deficit if he's going to snatch the claret jug from Adam Scott.

Woods shot a par-70 that kept him in the game.

Just barely.

"Well, I turned it around," Woods said, looking for the bright side. "I got off to an awful start and battled back and got myself right back in the mix again going into tomorrow. I'm right there."

Well, not quite.

Woods began the day four strokes behind Brandt Snedeker, the 36-hole leader. Now, the deficit between Woods and the new leader is even larger. Plus, there's two players between Woods and the top spot.

Snedeker, who had a miserable day but rallied at the end, and Graeme McDowell, who was solid all the way, are four strokes behind Scott's 11-under 199 total. Next is Woods at 204.

On moving day, he moved the wrong way, raising the extremely real possibility that the longest major drought of his career -- a little over four years since he hobbled to victory at the 2008 U.S. Open -- will carry on at this Open.

Of course, it could've been worse. Woods started the day by running his tee shot over the green at the par-3 first hole. A tentative chip came up eight feet short, and he missed the putt. After another bogey at the third, it appeared he was headed for a repeat of the last major championship.

Woods was actually tied for the 36-hole lead at the U.S. Open, but a 75 on Saturday wiped out his chances.

This time, at least, he rallied.

That birdie putt at No. 6, rapped from one side of the green to the other, turned the tide. Woods rolled in a much shorter birdie at the next hole, came up about an inch short of a third straight birdie from the fringe at No. 8, then stuck his tee shot at the par-3 ninth to four feet, setting up yet another birdie.

"Considering that I got off to such a bad start, I figured if I could get to one-over par or even for the day through the turn, that would have been a positive going to the back nine," Woods said. "I actually happened to turn at one under for the day, which was a bonus."

Woods had a prime opportunity to take off another stroke at the par-5 11th, but he misread the putt and settled for par. Another misjudgment at the 15th led to bogey, pretty much snuffing out any chance of getting on a roll coming to the clubhouse.

"I had a few looks on that back nine," Woods said. "I just didn't make them."

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 22, 2012 B4

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