MEXICO CITY – Just when he looked like he was going to give away a shot on his final hole Friday, Tiger Woods did what he does best, something most everyone else would never even think to try.
After finding the right fairway bunker off the tee at the par-4 ninth, Woods found himself blocked out by a tree between himself and the putting surface.
After multiple minutes surveying his options – and after a late club change – Woods aimed left, opened his clubface, ripped a slice around the tree, found the green, pulled his ball to the right and very nearly holed out from 135 yards.
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“The ball was sitting down just enough where I didn’t think I could clear that tree,” he said after the round. “I also had 130 yards, but it’s hard to get it up when the ball’s sitting down like that.
“So I went back to try to cut it with an 8-iron and then I realized that’s going to come out too hot; it’s going to miss the slope.
“I ended up going back to the 9-iron and I realized, ‘Jeez, I’ve really got to slice this thing. So I opened up and gave it as much of a cut motion as I possibly could and it worked out.”
Now in position to close out his round with his seventh circle of the day, Woods’ birdie bid from 12 feet hit the hole on the left and violently lipped out the back right.
“Dude,” he said with some emphasis, “I hit a good putt there.”
He settled for a par and a round of 5-under 66, with six birdies and a lone bogey in the form of a “three-wiggle” at the par-3 17th, his eighth hole of the day.
It was a five-shot improvement from his even-par 71 Thursday and it has him tied for eighth, six off the 11-under lead held by Dustin Johnson through 36 holes.
“Just keep plodding along,” Woods said of his plans for the weekend. “I think that the winning score here really hasn’t been all that low. Obviously, it’s only been two years. But you can get it going pretty good around this golf course, which is fun, but also you can go the other way very quickly; doesn’t take much. As I was saying, I was just trying to keep the ball in front of me and then just make a few putts.”