PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Tiger Woods had a much more enjoyable experience at the 17th hole of The Players Championship on Saturday.
A day after carding a quadruple-bogey 7 at the famed island green, Woods made a birdie and had a lengthy laugh with playing partner Kevin Na in the third round.
Na hit his tee shot to 4 1/2 feet. Woods followed with one even closer, getting his ball to stop inside 3 feet.
Na, considered one of the slower players on tour, putted first and raced to his get his ball out of the cup. Woods took notice of the speedy move and then mocked Na by doing the same with his birdie putt.
"He almost picked the ball out of the hole before it even got there," Woods said. "And I had pretty much a kick-in, so I tried to emulate him as best I possibly could, meanwhile still trying to make the putt."
It was the last of three birdies for Woods on the back nine and got him back to even par for the third round. He remained 3-under for the tournament, falling even further out of contention at TPC Sawgrass.
"We kind of fought back a little bit," Woods said. "I got it back to even par. I thought that was a good goal after being 3 over through eight (holes) and just fought hard. I fought to the very end and I was able to post even par for the day."
Woods was tied for 43rd, 12 shots behind leader Jon Rahm.
Winning is out of the question, even with rain, steady wind and cooler temperatures in the Sunday forecast.
"Just try and shoot something under par and move up just a little bit," he said. "I fought hard on the back nine and just wish I was able to put that same score on the front nine I would have got myself near that lead. ... It's definitely gettable. It's definitely doable. The golf course is, it's different, but it's still soft. ... You have some birdie opportunities out there for sure."
Woods will take next week off before returning for the Match Play Championships in Austin, Texas, likely meaning he has one tournament before the PGA Tour's first major, the Masters.
"Well, I'm guaranteed to play three rounds in a couple weeks and so that's basically like a tournament and we'll see from there," he said. "As I told you guys end of last year, I'm not going to play as much as I did last year. That was an awful lot, and plus I kept qualifying for events last year."
Three days, three aces — and at three holes.
Seamus Power made a hole-in-one at the par-3 third in the third round Saturday.
The 32-year-old Irishman found the front of the green with an 8-iron from 155 yards away. The ball bounced twice and gently rolled into the cup.
Power's first career ace on the PGA Tour came on the eve of St. Patrick's Day and was the fourth at No. 3 in tournament history. Jim Gallagher Jr. (1986), Russ Cochran (1994) and Chris DiMarco (2001) also aced No. 3.
"It was obviously fantastic," Power said. "I haven't had one for a while. First one actually on the PGA Tour, so that's kind of a nice feeling. It looked good all the way and hit the green — it seemed to take a while to fall in — but it was a great feeling, just such a surprise."
Power's marked the third time The Players has had three aces in the same year. There were three in 2000 and four in 2006.
Ryan Moore aced the par-3 17th in the opening round Thursday, and Sungjae Im did the same Friday at No. 13.
Moore followed his first-round highlight with a hole-out for eagle on the par-4 fifth Saturday. His approach shot from 190 yards out found the cup. Harris English also carded an albatross 2 on Thursday.
"It's one of those weeks," Power said. "It's nice to be a part of."
Seven players, including Jason Dufner and Kevin Na, missed the 54-hole cut. Eighty players made the 36-hole cut Friday because of ties, forcing a second cut that ended up being everyone over even-par 216.
Five of those seven made a bogey at the difficult 18th, including Dufner and Na. Anirban Lahiri, Patrick Rodgers and Patton Kizzire also faltered on the final hole and missed the second cut.
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