LOS ANGELES, Feb 15 ― Tiger Woods' hopes of a record-setting 83rd US PGA Tour victory at the Genesis Invitational dwindled yesterday with a disappointing two-over par 73 at Riviera Country Club.
Already five off the pace to start the day, Woods finished the second round at even par 142 for 36 holes and seven behind clubhouse leader Harold Varner, who carded a 68 for a seven-under total of 135.
Australian Adam Scott, South Korean Kang Sung and American Vaughn Taylor were in the clubhouse on six-under.
Scott had seven birdies in his seven-under 64, while Kang and Taylor both posted four-under 67s.
“I'm so far back right now, virtually, about 50 guys ahead of me, 40 guys ahead of me,” Woods said. “I'm going to have to make some birdies this weekend.”
A double-bogey and three bogeys out-weighed the three birdies on Woods's scorecard, and the 15-time major champion was especially disappointed to surrender three shots at two holes in which he was playing into the green with a wedge.
“I made some bad mistakes out there,” Woods said. “I had a wedge in my hand at 15 and made double there, sand wedge on three and made bogey there.
“Three runaway shots with wedges, something I rarely ever do. Because of that, shot over par.”
Woods had birdied the 10th to launch his round and was in the fairway with 144 yards to the hole at 15 but found a greenside bunker on the way to a double-bogey.
He clawed back two shots with birdies at the 17th and first, but was in another greenside bunker at the third and was unable to make the seven-footer to save par.
Woods acknowledged that his duties as tournament host made for a tiring week, but noted that such demands were nothing new for him.
“I just haven't been as sharp as I need to be,” Woods said, adding that without the blunders at 15 and three, “I'm near the top of the board.
“It's not complicated,” Woods added. “I just need to clean it up, but I'm now pretty far back and I have to make a lot of birdies this weekend.”
Woods, who tied Sam Snead's record for US PGA Tour victories with his 82nd at the Zozo Championship in Japan in October, is seeking his first win in the Genesis Invitational, the tournament that began in 1926 as the Los Angeles Open.
Breaking the record at Riviera would be especially sweet, since the course in Pacific Palisades west of Los Angeles is where he played his first US tour event as a teenage amateur.
But Woods has come up empty in 12 prior starts at Riviera ― his most starts on any course without a victory.
Last year, he vaulted into contention with a third-round 65, and he's hoping for something similar on Saturday.
“Hot birdie run and maybe make an eagle in there like I did last year,” he said. “I need a start like that (Saturday) to get myself back in this thing.” ― AFP