Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Golf

Woods just misses 59 at WGC Bridgestone at Firestone

AKRON, Ohio — Tiger Woods had a shot at making history with a magical 59.

He swore he wasn't disappointed to come up short.

"Disappointed? Absolutely not," he said.

Then he cracked, "A 61's pretty good. I'm not bummed."

Like a pitcher having to settle for a shutout instead of a perfect game, Woods could console himself by tying his career best and building a seven-shot lead Friday through 36 holes at the Bridgestone Invitational.

Pursuing his eighth victory at Firestone Country Club, Woods opened birdie-eagle — stuffing an approach to 3 feet at the first hole and holing a 20-footer for 3 at the par-5 second. He had two more birdies on the front nine and had four in a row to start the back nine in a light rain.

Needing to go only 2 under over his last five holes, he missed birdie putts inside 10 feet at 15 and 17. He saved par on the last with a 25-footer after an errant drive and a shot that hit into the trees and ended up in a bare spot short and right of the green.

"How about just pleased?" he said, when asked to rate the round. "I'm very happy I was able to post that. I just kept thinking, whatever lead I had, 'Let's just keep increasing it.' It's at seven … so that's not too bad after two days."

The 61 — matching his career best at the 1999 Byron Nelson, 2005 Buick Open and on the same Firestone course back in 2000 — left him at 13-under 127 in the World Golf Championships event.

Defending champion Keegan Bradley and Chris Wood were tied for second. They each shot 68.

Maybe one reason Woods isn't that impressed with shooting 59 is he has already done it. Granted, it was in a 1997 match with his good friend and fellow pro Mark O'Meara at Isleworth near Orlando. But a lot was riding on it.

"He lost a boatload," Woods said with a smile.

Park falls eight back

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — Before Inbee Park can think about a chance to make history as the first golfer to win four professional majors in the same season, she faced a more immediate concern in the Women's British Open — how to make up an eight-shot deficit against Na Yeon Choi.

"I'm so far back," Park said after birdie on the final hole to salvage 1-over 73. "We need some tough conditions."

This wind at St. Andrews was the strongest of the week, though nothing out of the ordinary.

Choi, a former U.S. Women's Open champion, played four groups behind Park and turned in a command performance, making six birdies for 5-under 67 that gave her a one-shot lead at 10-under 134 over Miki Saiki. Saiki set the Old Course record for the Women's British with 66 in the morning, where the only nuisance was a few bursts of showers.

First-round co-leader Morgan Pressel took another step toward locking up a spot on the Solheim Cup team with 70 in the morning, leaving her two off the lead.

Seminole's Brittany Lincicome shot 1-under 73 and is nine back (143). Tampa's Cindy LaCrosse (149) and Tampa resident Kristy McPherson (150) missed the cut.

PGA: Andres Romero birdied his last four holes to take the second-round lead in the Reno-Tahoe Open in Nevada with 22 points in the modified Stableford scoring format. The Argentine had nine birdies, bogey and double bogey for a one-point lead over Gary Woodland.

Champions: Mark Wiebe followed his Senior British Open playoff victory with 8-under 64 in the first round of the 3M Championship, taking a one-stroke lead over Kenny Perry and Corey Pavin in Blaine, Minn.

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