Woods bogeyed his final three holes Friday and fell four shots off the lead. (Greenwood/Getty Images)
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
ORLANDO, Fla. --Just as the weather turned bad at Bay Hill, so did Tiger Woods' score.
At one point within a stroke of the lead, Woods stumbled in with three straight bogeys on his way to a 2-under that had the makings of something much better.
"I played way better than what I scored today," Woods said. "I missed a couple of short ones, and I had a rough finish."
Woods' troubles began in earnest on the par-5 16th, where he drove into a fairway bunker. His foot slipped on his next shot and his ball came up short of the green and tumbled into the water.
He took a drop and pitched onto the green but the ball scooted long and left, stopping 27 feet from the hole to set up a two-putt bogey.
On the next hole, Woods tugged his tee shot on the par-3 long and left and failed to get up and down.
A tee shot into the right rough on the finishing hole forced Woods to lay up and again he left himself a long way from the hole, two-putting from 30 feet for the final blow.
"The good news is we've got 36 holes to go," Woods said. "Certainly four shots can be made up."
Woods also started the day four back but cut into the deficit immediately with a birdie on the opening hole, where he hit his approach shot to 12 feet and made the putt.
Five holes later, he split the fairway with a 311-yard drive on the par-5 sixth before reaching the green in two and rolling in an 8-footer for eagle.
He also had other opportunities, including a 2-footer on the par-3 second for birdie, another from 7 feet on the par-5 fourth, and a 3-footer on the par-5 12th.
Woods didn't make any of them.
"He was a couple away from a 64," said Justin Rose, who played alongside Woods and shares the lead with Bill Haas at 9 under entering the weekend.
Instead of another possible pairing with Rose, though, Woods is four back.
"The two short ones I missed, I blocked them both," said Woods, who finished with 28 putts for a second straight day and again missed three putts from inside 10 feet. "I knew the green was left‑to‑right, but I didn't think it was going to snag it quite like that. I tried to blister it and just ram it in there, and I actually blocked it too. Bad combo there. The one at 12, I blocked that one. That one was just a poor putt."
So, too, was the finish for a second day in a row.
In the opening round, Woods bogeyed No. 7 -- his 15th of the day -- after hitting his tee shot into the bunker on his tee shot.
He also struggled with the 17th and 18th in the opening round, making bogey on both.
It's also not the first time this season that he's made mistakes late.
At Doral, Woods bogeyed two of his final three rounds on Sunday. In San Diego, he had two bogeys and a double bogey over his final four holes.
Those didn't cost Woods, however, because he had a comfortable lead on both occasions.
"I've sort of made my share of mistakes on the last few holes the last couple days," Woods admitted. "I need to clean that up."
He'll need to if he wants to win for an eighth time at Bay Hill.
Only once in his last three trips here has he broken 70 on the weekend.
"It's just the way it goes," Woods said. "16 was unfortunate, 17 I made a bad swing, and 18 I made a bad swing. All three holes I hit beautiful putts I thought I made, but they're not realistic putts.
"I need to do a better job like I did most of the day getting in stiff and making those putts."