Tiger loses ground at Australian Open
SYDNEY (AP) – In the lead for the first time all year, Tiger Woods got the same result as his last time atop the leaderboard.
He couldn’t break par.
Woods bogeyed his first three holes Saturday in the Australian Open, and it didn’t get much better from there. He managed only two birdies on a good day for scoring, shot 3-over 75 and went from a one-shot lead to six shots behind John Senden.
It was only the third time since Woods’ last win two years ago that he had at least a share of the lead after a round. And it was the third time he was over par.
This round made him a long shot to end the longest drought of his career. Only once has he won a tournament when trailing by six shots or more going into the final round, and that was nearly 14 years ago in Thailand.
Senden, who won the Australian Open five years ago at Royal Sydney, birdied his last two holes to finish off a 9-under 63, giving him a one-shot lead over Jason Day going into Sunday at The Lakes.
Day celebrated his 24th birthday with a 68, giving him a shot at winning in his first trip home to Australia in nearly five years.
Greg Chalmers had a 67 and was two shots behind, followed by Nick O’Hern (66) and Nick Watney (68), one of eight Americans who came to the Australian Open to get ready for the Presidents Cup next week at Royal Melbourne.
“I just got off to an awful start,” Woods said. “The round should have been an easy 71, no problem. I played the par 5s bad, I didn’t take care of 13. But if I take care of the par 5s and make a couple of putts, it’s a 1 or 2 under round. But I made nothing today.”
In the lead for the first time since the final round of the Chevron World Challenge last year, it didn’t take long for him to start chasing.
Woods hit two good shots, but the approach was a yard long and tumbled off the side of the green to leave him a tough chip that he conservatively put 15 feet by the hole. Then came an approach from the adjacent fairway at No. 2 that went over the back of the green and left another challenging pitch that he put 30 feet by the hole.
The third bogey came from a poor pitch from short of the third hole that ran 15 feet long.
Woods followed with a 7-foot birdie on the fourth, but settled into a routine of fairways, greens and two-putt pars that on this day caused him to lose ground with the leaders.