Much like in his third round on Saturday, Tiger Woods's Sunday at the Honda Classic teemed with promise before fading fast after Woods got snarled in PGA National's much-hyped Bear Trap. In the end, Woods finished with an even-par 70.
Woods would have needed to go low in the final round to overcome the seven-shot deficit he started with on Sunday. And he got off to just the start he needed at the 365-yard, par-4 1st hole.
Woods hit an iron into the fairway with his tee shot, then knocked his approach to about 20 feet. You can guess what happened next. He dropped the lengthy birdie try, sending the crowds into a frenzy around the 1st green. The putt moved Tiger to one under for the tournament, six shots back.
The start of a Sunday charge? pic.twitter.com/sPUcdP9Ed3— GOLF.com (@GOLF_com) February 25, 2018
After a par at the 2nd, Woods hooked his tee shot badly on the par-5 3rd. His ball ended up way left on pine straw in a thick grove of trees. After talking with a rules official, he took a free drop and then hit an impressive shot that sliced 30-40 yards around the trees and into the fairway. He settled for par after just missing a short birdie putt.
Woods got right back to work at the 4th hole, hitting a perfect tee shot into the middle of the fairway. His wedge approach settled just nine feet from the cup, and Tiger holed it to get to two under, just five shots off the lead.
Woods must have had a lot on his mind Sunday given the situation, and the last thing he needed was another worry, like the safety of PGA National's treasured Egyptian geese.
The two forces nearly collided when Woods was playing the par-4 8th hole. As his tee shot tracked toward the fairway the TV cameras caught one of the Egyptian geese that call PGA National home walking right into the ball's flight path. Somehow the goose two-stepped around the ball as it bounded in the short grass, and then flopped on its back to safely avoid it altogether.
A Tiger tee shot nearly ruined this goose's Sunday stroll. pic.twitter.com/1kX1hogyrk— GOLF.com (@GOLF_com) February 25, 2018
But Woods was not distracted. He stuck his second shot to six feet, then rolled in the putt for his third birdie of the day.
Unfortunately for Woods and the fans following him at PGA National, the momentum stopped at the 9th. A poor second shot led to a bogey that dropped Woods back to two under at the turn. Four straight pars followed, some of them on the stressful side. But he avoided doing any damage to his scorecard.
Tiger got back on track at 14, sinking an 18-footer for his fourth birdie of the day to move back to three under, just four shots behind the leaders at the time.
But the comeback attempt came to a full stop at the difficult par-3 15th hole, where for the second time this week Woods knocked his tee shot into the water, resulting in a rally-killing double bogey.
Woods drilled his long birdie putt on the 16th well past the hole giving him another dropped shot.
Woods went on to par the final two holes to finish with an even-par 70, and at even par for the tournament. While he is no doubt disappointed with his final score on Sunday, Woods should feel good with the progress he has made this week. He has yet to announce what event he will play next, but Bay Hill March 15-18 is likely, with a small chance he tees it up the week before at the Valspar Championship.