With four holes to play, Tiger Woods is closing in on his eighth win at Torrey Pines. His final 11 holes on the Monday finish were expected to be a mere formality, a stroll into the clubhouse where he would collect his 75th career win. And Woods steadily tapped in easy pars on his first five holes of the day before he picked up a birdie on No. 13 to extend his lead to eight shots.
The key shot on the 13th was a five-iron laser from 230 yards out that Woods landed on the left edge of the green. He still had more than 55 feet to the hole, but as he's done all week, Woods struck a perfect lag across the unpredictable Poa annua turf. He put his three-foot birdie putt in the center of the cup and the lead momentarily moved up to eight shots over Brandt Snedeker.
Early on, Tiger struggled getting off the tee but managed to scramble and save par. Those pars were enough to stay in front comfortably as everyone else around him continued to drop shots. He found trouble on the par-3 11th hole when he put his tee shot in the back of a bunker. With the ball close to the back lip, he was forced into an awkward stance on the outside edge of the sand with the ball well below his feet. He addressed the ball with his left foot in the sand, and his right leg out of the bunker and almost parallel to the ground. Tiger had plenty of green to work with, but needed to blast it out from the awkward lie to even get it on the right side of the green. What followed could well be his shot of the day, as Woods splashed it to within inches of the cup for a tap-in par. Video of the sand save:
It was a fitting highlight on the back side of his final round, as it was his work out of the sand trap that started his big week on the South Course. Woods, who's known more as a slightly above average player out of the sand, was a perfect four-for-four in bunker saves on Thursday on the South Course. That included a chip-in on No. 6, which he nearly pulled off again on Monday at 11.
Woods finally gave a shot back to the field on No. 14, carding a bogey when he could not get up and down from snarly greenside rough. It reduced his score to 17-under and the lead to seven shots over Snedeker. But with just four holes to play, the only drama left is whether he can match or exceed his eight-shot win here in 2008.
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