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Rose, Gillis Share Honda Golf Lead as Woods’ Late Birdies Keep Him Playing

March 03, 2012

Justin Rose and Tom Gillis hold a one-shot lead going into the third round of the U.S. PGA Tour’s Honda Classic, where Tiger Woods birdied his final two holes to avoid missing the 36-hole cut.

Gillis, an American, shot 6-under 64 yesterday. Rose, an Englishman seeking his fourth U.S. Tour win, was 4 under for the round and joined Gillis at 8 under overall at PGA National Resort and Spa’s Champion Course in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and American Dicky Pride are a shot back at 7-under 133. Vaughn Taylor, rookie Brian Harman, who set a course record with a 9- under 61 yesterday, and Jimmy Walker -- all Americans -- are 6 under entering the third round.

Woods, who hasn’t won a full U.S. Tour event since September 2009, is 1 under par following rounds of 71 and 68. The cut for weekend play was at 1 over. Before his final two birdies, Woods was 1 over, which risked keeping him from weekend play for the first time since the 2011 PGA Championship.

“It was a little bit of a fight today,” Woods told reporters in a televised news conference. “It was probably the worst I’ve hit the ball in months. I didn’t have it today, but I managed to score.”

Woods missed three straight birdie putts inside of 10 feet and recorded a double-bogey on the par-3 fifth hole over his final nine holes. He then rolled in birdie putts of 6 and 11 feet on the last two holes to end his day. Woods started on the 10th hole yesterday.

Woods, the former No. 1-ranked golfer in the world, is playing in the event for the first time as a professional. It’s the second of three straight tournaments he’ll play to prepare for next month’s Masters, golf’s first major tournament of the year.

Woods tied for 15th in his 2012 U.S. debut last month at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and lost in the second round of the World Match Play Championship last week. His only victory in the last two years came in December at an unofficial 18-man invitational he hosts.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Buteau in Atlanta at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at

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