Tiger rues near-misses


AUGUSTA – Tiger Woods could not sink clutch putts when he needed them most, his near-misses contributing to a one-under par 71 on Thursday that left him six strokes off the pace at the 75th Masters. The 14-time major champion, trying to move one notch nearer to the all-time record 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus, said he probably should have trimmed two or three strokes off his total but his “beautiful” putts did not find the cup.
“I hit a lot of beautiful putts,” Woods said. “And they were just skirting the edge. I was hitting my lines and they just weren’t going in. I felt really comfortable with it. So hopefully they will start going in. “I hit a couple bad ones, but overall felt really good over the putts. Realistically the round probably should have been 68, 69.” Woods is confident he can end the victory drought on the famed Augusta National layout where he has won four green jackets symbolic of Masters supremacy.
“It’s a long way to go. We have a long grind ahead of us,” Woods said. “The temperature’s supposed to warm up and I’m sure they will start making the pins a little more difficult as the week goes on. “I’m very pleased. I’m right there in the ball game. I’m only six back and we’ve got a lot of golf ahead of us. “Couple slip-ups there at 10 and 11 and then got it going on 13, 14,” Woods said.