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Tiger Woods sunk by poor putting at Northern Trust

Tiger Woods lines up a putt on the

Tiger Woods lines up a putt on the 17th green during the third round of the Northern Trust on Saturday in Ridgewood, N.J. Credit: Getty Images / Gregory Shamus

PARAMUS, N.J. — Tiger Woods was done with his round more than two hours before the leaders began theirs. That was a result of the putting woes that had put him in a tie for last entering the weekend. For the first time all week, he broke par (3-under-par 68 after a pair of 71s) and for the first time all year, he finished 18 holes without a bogey.

So, how was Saturday better than Thursday and Friday? “About the same, to be honest with you,” Woods said. “For the week, I’ve only made eight birdies and that’s not going to get it done. These guys are making a boatload of birdies.”

He looked particularly exasperated on the short par-4 12th, where he pitched within four feet in two, then never even touched the hole with his putt. “I’m just not seeing the lines this week,” he said. “It’s just the way it is, the way it goes.”

Not that he considers it a crisis or even a trend. “It has only been three days,” said the golfer who raised expectations by surging to second place two weeks ago at the PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis. “I putted great at Bellerive. I  just haven’t quite had the feel or the pace this week.”

Pan gets Tiger's nod

Last week was not so terrible after all for C.T. Pan, who was tied for the lead entering the final hole of the Wyndham Championship then made double-bogey and dropped to third. The 26-year-old from Taiwan has since received encouragement from a distinguished colleague.

Tiger Woods saw Pan, 26 of Taiwan, in the Ridgewood Country Club locker room the other day and made the younger player’s week. “He was walking this way, I was walking that way and he said, `Good playing last week.’ I was really excited to hear that. He has always been my idol and to be recognized by my idol means a lot to me,” said Pan, whose wife caddied last week but has been replaced at the Northern Trust with Woods’ former looper, Fluff Cowan.

Na tips cap to Yanks

Kevin Na was born in South Korea and raised in Southern California, but on Saturday, his headwear identified him as all-New York. While just about every other golfer wore a hat signifying a golf-related endorsement, Na had on a Yankees cap throughout his 5-under-par 66. Fans definitely noticed.

“They loved it,” Na said, nodding toward his caddie Kenny Harms, adding, “It was his idea. He’s a local guy.”

Harms, Paramus High School Class of 1984, said, “He doesn’t have a hat contract right now, so why not? Who doesn’t love the Yankees? They just need to get healthy.”

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