Tiger Woods Finishes Strong with 3-Under 69 in Players Championship Final Round

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 13, 2018

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 13:  Tiger Woods of the United States plays his shot from the fifth tee during the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 13, 2018 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Tiger Woods shot a three-under 69 in the final round of the The 2018 Players Championship to finish at 11 under at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

When he headed for the clubhouse, Woods was in a tie for 11th place and eight shots back of tournament leader Webb Simpson.

When he approached the 17th tee, Woods was already out of the race for a title. He quickly became another victim of the course's famed island green, as his tee shot landed in the water. The PGA Tour shared a replay of the shot:

Woods finished 17 with a double bogey, which put a slight damper on an otherwise solid final round, though he parred the 18th to stay at 11 under, a vast improvement from when he was one under through two rounds.

Woods' approach game let him down Sunday. According to PGATour.com, he averaged 307.4 yards off the tee—his best of the tournament—but reached 12 greens in regulation, down from 15 in the third round. He also lost 1.581 strokes approaching the green.

Woods got off to a strong start, making the turn at four under for the round. While Simpson still had a somewhat sizable advantage over the rest of the field, Sports Illustrated's Daniel Rapaport thought Woods' rise was cause for concern for the leader:

Woods nearly eagled the 11th hole, too. His 23-foot putt rolled just inches to the left of the cup, and he settled for a birdie:

The 14-time major champion birdied the 12th hole to move to 14 under for the tournament and put even more pressure on Simpson. His progress halted there, though, as he carded three pars and a bogey before things unraveled on No. 17.

The excitement over Woods' overall performance at TPC Sawgrass is understandable. He remains golf's biggest star, and nobody else can recreate the feeling of seeing him hang near the top of the leaderboard on a Sunday.

Still, he finished in the top five at the Valspar Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational before he was a non-factor at the Masters and Wells Fargo Championship.

A month remains before the 2018 U.S. Open tees off at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in New York. Whether Woods can maintain the momentum he built at The Players Championship will offer a good indication as to whether he can mount a serious challenge for title, which would be his first in 10 years.

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