Tiger smacks Rory’s tail for second straight day in Boston

Bernie McGuire
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Tiger smacks Rory’s tail for second straight day in Boston

Rory McIlroy watches on as Tiger Woods putts at TPC Boston in Norton, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Tiger Woods smacked Rory McIlroy’s tail for a second straight day with the duo ending well down the board at the Northern Trust outside of Boston.

Woods grabbed a closing five-under par 66 in posting nine closing pars for a six-under par total on the ‘no spectators’ TPC Boston course.

McIlroy, who found himself five shots adrift of Woods after just six holes, signed for a closing two-under par 69 for a two-under total.

“Today was good and I thought it was good all the way around,” said Woods.

“I hit a lot of good shots. My body feels pretty good. You know, this is going to be a long haul either way.

“Everything was just cleaner and better today so it was good and I just wish I would have kept the round going a little bit more. I had a couple nice little eagle looks on the front nine.

“It could have been — well, it could have been one of those really low rounds, but I’ll take 5-under.

“Hopefully — I wish I would have played a little bit better this week to make it a little bit easier on me next week to try to get into East Lake, but this is going to be — if I played well, four out of five weeks, so it’s going to be a busy stretch either way.”

Despite their lowly Boston finish, both have qualified to tee-up later this week at the BMW Championship in Chicago, the penultimate event of the 2019/20 PGA Tour season.

A day earlier, Woods and McIlroy went out in the third match of the day after each had just managed to make the three-under par cut-off mark in the Euro 8.2m event.

After being on the end of a number of earlier career defeats, including their 2012 ‘Duel at Lake Ginsha’ in China, Woods managed to get back one on his younger rival.

It was only by a single stroke and also after McIlroy produced one of the most bizarre and indifferent rounds of his now 13-year pro career that included four birdies, a bogey and two triple bogeys in his third round 74 compared to Woods’ 73.

The duo, with a combined 19 Majors, went out again early on day four but this time in the second two-ball of the morning and some five-and-a-half hours before Dustin Johnson was due to tee-off in leading the event by five shots.

Woods, starting at one-under for the event, got off to a flyer and left McIlroy choking in his dust with four straight birdies, with the Irishman five shots behind for the round in bogeying the second.

Woods was still five shots clear when they each birdied the seventh and McIlroy cut that to just three with an eighth hole birdie in holing a 22-foot birdie ‘bomb’. Woods took bogey but again went back to four in front in landing his second at the ninth to just three-foot for a sixth birdie of his round.

At five under, there were many hoping the 15-time Major winner could possibly break 60, something Woods has not managed in his 82-PGA Tour winning career.

Though in a scenario similar to Johnson on day one of the event, the birdies dried-up for Woods posting eight straight pars.

McIlroy could not bridge the gap, proceeding to go bogey, birdie and bogey from the 12th hole and then get back to one-under in holing a 12-footer for birdie at the par-3 16th.

Woods ended-up with nine closing pars to end the event just inside the top-60 at five-under par.

McIlroy grabbed a last hole birdie and headed to the clubhouse sharing 66th place but horribly four spots off the bottom, with Johnson still well over an hour away from teeing off.

“If you need anyone to shoot even to 2-under for a week, I’m your man,” said McIlroy smiling.

“That’s sort of what I’ve done the last few weeks. So anything around even par, I’m good.

“Just the same stuff. Everything is just a little off. I haven’t driven the ball the way I usually do, which puts me out of position. My driver cost me a few shots this week. Actually felt like my iron play and my wedges were really good, which is — you know, which is a positive, if I can take a positive from this week.

“But yeah, just sort of more of the same. Just not quite there.

“I’m heading home this afternoon and going to try a couple of drivers at home tomorrow and then coming back up to Chicago on Tuesday and see if I can figure it out.”

And while Woods was battling away in Boston, 11-year old son Charlie Woods won a second nine-hole event in succession in south Florida, following up his five stroke win in a 9-11-age division nine-hole event, this time with a three stroke victory.

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