Frustrated Woods falls out of contention at Torrey Pines

Updated: Jan 30, 2011, 09:36 AM IST

San Diego: Tiger Woods endured a frustrating day at one of his favourite golfing venues to tumble out of contention for the PGA Tour event in San Diego on Saturday.

A six-times winner of the tournament at Torrey Pines, the former world number one continually struggled with his swing on the way to a two-over-par 74 in the third round.

Woods, who is playing his first tournament of the year, hit only five of 14 fairways and reached just 10 of 18 greens in regulation to end a sun-splashed day at four-under 212, a distant eight strokes off the lead.

"I did not play well at all today," Woods, who continually shook his head in frustration after hitting errant shots, told reporters after carding four bogeys and just two birdies.

"It was a struggle all day. I finally found something at 16 (with his swing), but 15 holes already had gone by so that was pretty frustrating."

"I couldn`t get anything going in the back nine. That was the goal of the back nine, but I just didn`t make it happen."

Woods was surprisingly upstaged by his playing partner, PGA Tour rookie Jhonattan Vegas of Venezuela who was a shock winner of last week`s Bob Hope Classic.

The long-hitting Vegas birdied three of the last six holes for a 69 to finish five strokes better than the 14-times major champion.

"I`d never seen him hit a golf shot," Woods said. "It was neat to play with him. He`s a really nice kid. He had a couple of loose shots here and there, but he recovered well. He put himself in contention going into tomorrow."

Woods, who joined forces with Canadian swing coach Sean Foley last August, said he needed to keep working hard through the fourth swing change of his professional career.

"I`ve made changes in the past," the 35-year-old said. "It`s the same old motor patterns and they kind of kick in, especially when I have to place shots."

"The hard part is kind of battling through that. I know what I can do. I know what I`m capable of hitting, the shots I`m capable of hitting, and I just need to keep improving and keep working."

Woods, who won the most recent of his 14 major titles here at the 2008 U.S. Open, made a poor start to the third round with three bogeys in the first five holes to slide down the leaderboard.

With a wedge in hand after finding the fairway off the tee at the par-four second, he dumped his approach into a greenside bunker from where he failed to get up and down.

He three-putted the par-three third and also dropped at the fifth where he again ended up in a greenside bunker with his second shot.

Woods repaired some of the damage with birdies on the two par-fives, the sixth and ninth, to reach the turn in one-over 37.

However he made no further progress on the back nine as his driving accuracy continued to betray him.

He bogeyed the par-four 15th after finding the right rough off the tee and failed to birdie the par-five last after ending up in the left rough with his drive.

Asked what his goals were for Sunday`s final round, he replied: "Hopefully, put a good round together, get something going early."

"And we`ll see what happens. See if I can post something low, and you never know."

Bureau Report