PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. — Riviera Country Club is 10 miles west of Hollywood, but the giddy cheers echoing around the course Saturday evening were of a volume more typical of a Kardashian sighting than a sedate golf tournament. That’s what happens when golf’s biggest superstar creates thrilling drama for fans weary after two days of weather delays.
It wasn’t until 3:40 p.m. local time that Tiger Woods walked to the 10th tee to begin his third round at the Genesis Open, a distant 10 strokes behind leaders Justin Thomas and Adam Scott. After a birdie on his opening hole, Woods eagled the 11th after a sublime 253-yard 5-wood to inside 10 feet. He added a 21-footer for birdie at No. 12 then brushed home another birdie putt from 14 feet at the 13th.
That was in sharp contrast to his second round, which was marred by four three-putts.
Racing out in 5-under par through his opening four holes electrified the gallery and brought Woods to within five strokes of the leaders, who did not tee off until the sun began to set at 5 p.m. Woods parred his way to bed from that point, completing another three holes before play was called for the day due to darkness at 5:45.
“I made some putts and didn’t have four three-putts out there, so that was a positive,” he said. “Conditions were tough in the beginning, which was good for me since guys weren’t doing much around the golf course.”
Woods was on the 17th green — his eighth hole — when play was suspended. His day ended at 6-under par, seven strokes behind solo leader Thomas, who eagled his first hole of the evening. “A little bit,” Woods said when asked he if had put himself back into contention. “I still have some work to do.”
Play resumes early Sunday morning with PGA Tour officials in a race against the clock to complete the tournament Sunday evening and avoid a Monday finish for the second week in a row. Groupings will not change after the third round but will move directly into the final round.
Woods knows he’s in for a grueling day Sunday, especially with a dawn resumption. “It’s going to be in the 40s and it’s supposed to be blowing 20 miles an hour, so it’s going to be a tough day for all of us,” he said. “You’re going to have to fight through it.”
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