Dull blade stymies Woods

Fri, Feb 24, 2012, 00:00

Golf:Tiger Woods’ bid for a first PGA US Tour victory in over two years ended prematurely when he lost to fellow American Nick Watney by one hole in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at Dove Mountain.

The former world number one struggled with his putting on the heavily contoured greens and never got back on level terms after going one down at the 10th. Though Woods won the par-three 16th after his opponent’s tee shot sailed over the grandstand at the back of the green to trim the deficit from two-down, he missed a six-foot birdie putt at the 18th to keep the second-round match alive.

“I hit it well all day,” three-times champion Woods told reporters after going out in the second round for a third time at the elite World Golf Championships event. “I didn’t make any putts and subsequently I didn’t win the match. I was fighting the blocks all day with my putter.

“I didn’t miss a single shot coming in, which is good. That was fun to hit the ball that well. Unfortunately I just didn’t make a putt when I needed it.” Woods lost the opening hole when he missed a 13-foot birdie putt after Watney had rolled in an 18-footer.

However, the former world number one squared the match with a two-putt birdie at the par-five second before going one up after his opponent three-putted for bogey on the fourth. Woods stumbled at the par-four seventh, horseshoeing out from just five feet to slip back to all square.

Worse was to follow at the par-four 10th where Woods found a fairway bunker off the tee and then hit his second, from an awkward lie, under a cactus right of the fairway. He failed to reach the green with a left-handed shot and eventually conceded the hole after missing a bogey putt from 22 feet.

Watney sank a 17-foot birdie putt at the par-three 12th to go two up and Woods missed birdie putts from 10 feet at the 13th and seven feet at the 15th to squander chances of cutting back the lead. He won the par-three 16th where Watney bogeyed after his tee shot had sailed over the back of the grandstand but he failed to make up any further ground over the last two holes.

Champion at this event in 2003, 2004 and 2008, Woods has not triumphed on the PGA Tour since the 2009 BMW Championship.