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Tiger Woods' Sunday Rally Falls Short, Shoots 14 Under at PGA Championship

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 12, 2018

ST LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 12:  Tiger Woods of the United States reacts after making a putt for birdie on the ninth green during the final round of the 2018 PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club on August 12, 2018 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Tiger Woods might not have won the PGA Championship, but he is clearly back as one of the top golfers in the world.

The 42-year-old shot a 64 Sunday to put him minus-14 in the fourth major of the year. He tallied eight birdies in an adventurous final round to help him finish alone in second place.

Justin Ray of Golf Channel put his score in context:

Justin Ray @JustinRayGC

Tiger Woods: 266, lowest total score of his major championship career. 64 is his lowest ever final round score in a major.

However, he wasn't able to catch Brooks Koepka, who won his second major of the year with a final score of minus-16.

Woods' approach shots kept him in contention, including this beauty on No. 15:

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Tiger is not going away. #LiveUnderPar https://t.co/Y0StR3nvRW

The birdie put him one stroke behind leaders Koepka and Adam Scott with three holes remaining.

He added one more birdie on No. 18 after a tough par save on 17, but the two golfers in the final group never relented under pressure.

Luck also wasn't on the side of the 14-time major champion, as he narrowly lost strokes on Nos. 11 and 14:

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CBS Sports @CBSSports

Tiger was THIS close to a birdie... https://t.co/aAoSbloW3a

CBS Sports @CBSSports

Golf can be cruel. https://t.co/HtMzyxsHgX

Most of the drama in the day came on the front nine, which was as exciting of a stretch as we have seen from Woods in nearly a decade. 

After struggling with his putter during Round 3 on Saturday, he had problems off the tee in Round 4 and went his first nine holes without hitting a fairway.

Michael Collins noted the extent of his problems with his driver:

Michael Collins @ESPNCaddie

80 players have been or are on the course. 79 have hit a fairway. Tiger Woods is the lone wolf. https://t.co/LuZsizzYt1

Fortunately, his wedge shots were much cleaner, and he was able to consistently recover from wherever he was standing.

Woods had four birdies in the front nine, several of which came from difficult approach shots:

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

This shot leads to Tiger's first birdie of the day. #LiveUnderPar https://t.co/xAnEr9hSZ4

PGA of America @PGA

Tiger gets out of trouble and finds a birdie to get back to 10-under. 🐦 #PGAChamp https://t.co/eXmIO32g6k

Nothing compared to his effort on the ninth hole to earn a birdie from the cart path:

Golf Channel @GolfChannel

That is VINTAGE @TigerWoods #PGAChamp https://t.co/bc0ErLjzOO

Golf Channel @GolfChannel

ARE YOU HAVING FUN YET?! #PGAChamp https://t.co/9tAXBWgvdu

Consistency was a problem, but Woods produced some of his best individual shots in a long time. 

Ron Sirak of Golf Channel summed up the first nine holes:

Ron Sirak @ronsirak

Tiger hits 0 fairways on the front 9 and turns in 32. Most entertaining front I’ve seen since Seve vs. Tom Lehman in 1995 Ryder Cup singles.

He finally found fairways and greens on the back nine, which led to back-to-back birdies on Nos. 12 and 13. Another birdie on the 15th hole put the Wanamaker Trophy within his grasp, but he fell out of contention in the final few holes.

Woods hasn't won a major since 2008 and hasn't earned a win yet in 2018, but considering his time off from multiple back surgeries, his recent performance has been outstanding. 

His lack of consistency was on full display this week, as different aspects of his game failed him at different times in each round. Bob Harig of ESPN.com discussed the missed opportunities:

Bob Harig @BobHarig

Would have been fun to see what would have happened if Tiger could have gotten the driver in play. That club remains nemesis.

Still, Woods is still as talented as anyone on the PGA Tour if he can piece everything together. No one can excite a crowd quite like Woods in his Sunday red, either.

If he can stay healthy moving forward, a tournament title may be right around the corner.

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