Tiger Woods says he has work to do for US Open after first birdie-free round since 2014 at Wells Fargo Championship

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Tiger Woods had his first birdie-free round since 2014 to finish equal 55th at the Wells Fargo Championship in North Carolina on Sunday, his second-worst result of the year.

Woods closed with a 74 to finish at two-over-par 286 at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, 14 strokes behind winner Jason Day.

It was only the 11th time in more than 1,000 rounds as a professional on the PGA Tour that Woods failed to record a birdie or eagle.

He again lamented poor putting but also failed to hit his approach shots close enough to the hole.

He had only one birdie chance from inside 10 feet – a five-footer that he missed at the par-five 10th.

“I hit the ball halfway decent today, so I wasn’t disappointed with that,” Woods told reporters.

“Again, just did not putt well and didn’t make a birdie today. I got shut out. It was just a bad week.”

In his seventh start of the year, Woods, 42, is well into a full-throttled comeback after last April’s successful back surgery.

He has made the cut in all but one start, and seemed to be nearing his old form when he contended for victory in consecutive events in Florida in March.

Woods was rated among the favourites at The Masters in April, but finished equal 32nd and blamed poor iron play.

He used a new set of irons at Quail Hollow, his own signature brand.

While hardly knocking the pins down on Sunday, he hit his irons well enough for the most part over the four rounds to suggest he is adjusting quickly to them.

The 14-times major champion said he would work on all facets of his game before the Players Championship starts in Florida on Thursday at TPC Sawgrass, where he has won twice.

“I’m very pleased with the way I’m swinging,” he said.

“I need obviously to do some practising with my putter. It’s just a matter of making sure I get the right speed for those greens because (they are) going to be a little bit quicker than here.

“That’s a golf course you can’t fake it around there and you have to hit the ball well. You can’t get away with hitting it poorly.”

Former world number one Day almost aced the 17th hole on his way to a two-stroke victory. After squandering a three-shot lead on the back nine, Day made amends to clinch his 12th PGA Tour victory in style at Quail Hollow in Charlotte ahead of Americans Nick Watney and Aaron Wise.

The Australian birdied the 16th and then took aim at the par-three 17th hole with a seven-iron from 230 yards.

His ball landed some 40 feet short of the pin, took a huge first bounce and finally clattered against the bottom of the flagstick on the fifth bounce.

Day was unlucky not to make a hole-in-one, but the stick also saved his ball from rolling off the back of the green.

The ensuing three-feet birdie restored his two-shot lead and he parred the last to finish at 12-under 272.

Day rated the victory one of the best of his career, not because of the quality of his play but more due to his ability to get the job done without his best game.

“I had no idea where the ball was going today, especially off the tee,” he said in an interview on the 18th green.

“I missed a lot of fairways, missed a lot of greens. My short game stood the test, which is nice. This is probably one of the best wins I’ve ever had, just because of how hard everything was today.”

It is only two years since Day was dominating the game, but he slightly lost his way and surrendered the spotlight.

However, a win at Torrey Pines in January showed that he was back in business, and his Quail Hollow victory is projected to elevate him to seventh in the world rankings.

Day, 30, acknowledged that plenty of doubts crept into his head when he bogeyed the 13th and 14th holes on Sunday to fall back into a tie with wise.

“The biggest thing is, you’re playing mental games with yourself,” he said. “Your sub-conscious is sitting there going, ‘You’re going to fail, you’re going to fail, you’re going to fail.’

“I kept on saying to myself, ‘No, just forget about those thoughts, keep pushing, keep pushing and give yourself opportunities.’

“I was putting great, pretty much all week and had a lot of good opportunities coming in.”

Reuters

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