NORTON, MA - AUGUST 31: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland putts on the 16th hole during the first round of the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston on August 31, 2012 in Norton, Massachusetts. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy is the master of his putting domain. Tiger Woods, less so.
Norton, Mass. -- Tiger Woods blamed a balky putter for his inability to get much going Saturday, while his good pal Rory McIlroy rode his flat stick to the top of the star-studded leaderboard at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
“I’m happy with the way I hit it,” Woods said after posting a 3-under 68 to get to 10-under and into a tie for third for the tournament, two shots off McIlroy’s pace. “I didn’t putt very good. I didn’t really make anything. Hopefully tomorrow will be a lot better.”
Woods managed a 30-foot putt at the par-4 14th for birdie but brushed that off as an anomaly after he caught a peak at playing partner Brandt Snedeker’s stroke.
“That doesn’t count,” Woods said about making the putt after changing his approach to the shot. “I had a hard time figuring out what it was going to do late because it was questionable whether or not it was going to fall back to the left.
“His putt,” Woods added, “he got totally fooled on it. I switched my read a little bit and knocked it in.”
It looked as if Woods might put together back-to-back low rounds after starting his day with two quick birdies. He added three more, but failed to make a bunch of putts from about 15 feet.
Still, he was not completely disappointed, given the 64 he carded on Friday.
"You've got to let it balance itself out because I made everything yesterday," he said. "Today was one of those days where I had some good looks, missed them, but didn't feel like I was really rolling it correctly. Then I figured something out at 13...and then from then on, I poured it pretty good."
It was a different story for McIlroy, who had nothing but praise for the putting surfaces at TPC Boston after having problems at Bethpage Black, site of last week’s Barclays event.
“I wasn't very comfortable on the greens at all last week. They weren't the best surfaces. I think everyone saw that,” McIlroy said. “This week, the surfaces are much better, and it gives you a little more confidence that you can roll your putts at the hole a bit more.”
For sure, McIlroy was quite happy with the way he rolled the ball on Saturday.
“Yeah, very pleased with how I played today, how I played yesterday, as well,” he said, “and in a great position going into the weekend.”