Stan Badz/PGA TOUR Tiger Woods, who tees off on the 10th hole, made only one bogey in his third and fourth rounds combined.
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
BETHESDA, Md. — Tiger Woods only made three birdies in the final round but it was the quality of his misses that won him the AT&T National at Congressional Country Club on Sunday.
Woods, who has been hurt in recent seasons with the occasional big number, made just one bogey in his third and fourth rounds combined. In fact, Woods went from his 10th hole of his second round on Friday morning to the 16th green on Sunday afternoon without a bogey.
Stats: Woods finished the tournament hitting 30 of 56 fairways, tied for 46th among the field. He was T17 in greens in regulation by hitting 48 of 72. Woods took 112 putts, which was 17th best in the field and he finished ninth in Strokes Gained-Putting.
All those numbers are important but the biggest difference this week was his ability to save par after missing greens. Woods led the tournament in scrambling, getting up and down 79.17 percent of the time. Maybe his biggest save came on Saturday when he chipped in for birdie on the sixth hole. He played the first six holes of the third round in 3 under despite hitting just two fairways and two greens.
Woods came into the week unhappy with his short game during the U.S. Open and has apparently solved the problem.
Flier: Luck always plays a role in tournament golf and Bo Van Pelt received some bad fortune on the 71st hole. At the par-4 17th, he caught a flier out of the rough and his ball flew over the green, leading to a bogey.
Meanwhile, Van Pelt’s bogey at the 16th hole was self-inflicted. When you are tied for the lead, you can not make bogey on a par 5 when your second shot is just 40 yards from the green. After being tied for the lead through 69 holes of competition, Van Pelt bogeyed his final three holes.
16th green: Both Woods and Van Pelt were surprised with the 16th green.
Tiger one-hopped a ball over the green en route to a bogey while Van Pelt also posted a 6 after he mis-hit a chip that rolled 13-and-a-half feet past the cup.
The green on the par 5 was far firmer than other putting surfaces on the course and with just three paces separating the flagstick from the back of the green, the 16th hole frustrated players all day long.
Salute: What a great scene at the 17th hole on Sunday. It was the designated military hole with an American Flag atop the stick and Navy service personnel tending the flag. It was the perfect scenario for Billy Hurley III. He attended the nearby United States Naval Academy and was about to post the best finish in his PGA TOUR career. Hurley, who wore a shirt with the Academy insignia shared a handshake with the servicemen while an educated gallery applauded, appreciating the situation.
Military week: The AT&T National always has a military theme with all branches of the service represented. Spectators were able to sign and post a message each day which was taken to nearby military hospitals. Servicemen announced players’ names as they approached the 18th green and every one of the golfers walked over and shook hands with the military personnel.
More practice: Beau Hossler did not qualify for the final round but still had course privileges. So while the tournament progressed, the California teenager made use of the chipping and putting green outside the clubhouse.
Hossler was grinding on his practice routine while occasionally looking up to see players as they passed through making the turn. After playing in the U.S. Open and AT&T National, Hossler is going to be able to write a great essay on “What I did on my summer vacation” when he returns for his senior year of high school.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio and inside the ropes this week at the Travelers Championship. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.