Tiger Woods Advances to Third Round of U.S. Amateur
Aug. 22, 1996
CORNELIUS, Ore. (AP) _ Tiger Woods survived a shaky start and turned back a pesky Jerry Courville 4-and-2 today to advance to the third round of the U.S. Amateur Championship.
Woods, who bogeyed three of the first seven holes, was 1-down to the 37-year-old veteran of amateur match play tournaments until he rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt on No. 8 to even the match.
The key point came on the 12th hole when the match was still tied. Woods missed the green right, but Courville followed by hitting his ball into the water left on the par-3.
That started a run of three consecutive holes won by Woods and Courville conceded the match on No. 16.
``No. 8 was the turning point, just like it was yesterday,'' Woods said. ``I finally settled down and got my tempo after the first seven holes,'' he said. ``That was the first good putt I hit.''
Courville missed six of the first seven greens and he and Woods halved three holes with bogeys in that stretch.
``I let a good opportunity slip away on the front nine,'' a dejected Courville said.
Courville, a veteran of 14 USGA tournaments, was considered one of Woods' sternest tests as he tries to become the first player to win three consecutive U.S. Amateur titles.
Woods will play his third-round match later today as the field is reduced to the final eight for Friday's play.
``You have to take it one step at a time,'' Woods said Wednesday after he closed out J.D. Manning on the 16th hole of his first-round match. ``You can't look forward to the finals on Sunday. You can't skip ahead or you're going to be packing your bags.''
Woods, who was 1-down after six holes to Manning _ mostly because of a series of missed putts _ wore down Manning with one 320-yard drive after another.
``We played different golf courses,'' Manning said. ``On No. 9, I'm hitting 2-iron in and he's hitting 7, 8 or 9.''
The 20-year-old Stanford student finally shattered Manning's spirit with a very difficult 40-foot, downhill chip-in for birdie on No. 8.
``That was really the turning point of the match,'' Woods said about the intentionally bladed wedge down the slope from the back fringe.
``With the speed it was going, it would probably have gone off the green,'' he said.
Instead it hit the stick and dropped in for a birdie.
``It took the wind out of my sails,'' Manning said. ``I think I lost my tempo for a couple of holes.''
He lost the next hole to fall 2-down and never got closer.
Also among the 32 players advancing on Wednesday were Robert Floyd, the son of PGA Tour veteran Raymond Floyd, and Bo Van Pelt, runner-up to Woods in the 36-hole stroke-play qualifier.
The longest match of the day was won by Charles Howell on the 24th hole over Jeff Golliher.
Manning, who said he could only laugh at how far Woods was driving the ball, said Woods was anything but invincible and that the tournament could still be won by someone else in the field of 32 survivors.
``If someone plays well and starts making putts, they can give him a run for his money,'' Manning said. ``It won't be a cakewalk.''
Woods started with a shaky putter, missing birdie putts of 15 feet or less on the first three holes before going 1-up when Manning conceded the fourth hole after hitting his second shot out of bounds.
But Woods bogeyed No. 5 from the back bunker and Manning birdied No. 6 to go 1-up. Woods squared the match on the next hole when he got within 15 yards of the 619-yard par-5 in two and chipped to 6 feet for a birdie.
Then came the chip-in on No. 8.
Three times on the front nine, Woods drove the ball well over 300 yards, knocking it 323 yards on No. 4, 332 yards on No. 7 and 325 yards on the ninth hole. He hit the 470-yard par-5 14th hole with a drive and a 9-iron.
CHIP SHOTS: The Witch Hollow course has five par-5 holes, four of which Woods can easily reach in two. He won three of the four par-5s he played in his match against Manning, a trend to look for as the tournament continues. ... Because two rounds are played today, the Woods-Courville match started at 7:15 a.m. ``What?'' Woods shrieked when he found out his tee time. ``Oh, man,'' he moaned, shaking his head. ... Woods drove with a 2-iron on No. 1 and No. 3 and both times was 10 yards ahead of Manning's driver. ... When Woods walked onto the practice green before's Wednesday's round, some of the younger players glanced nervously at him out of the corner of their eyes. Courville, Woods' second-round opponent, walked over to his Walker Cup teammate and said, ``Mr. Woods, nice to see you again.'' ... Woods was furious when he hit his approach shot on No. 8 to the back fringe. ``It's the one place on the green you don't want to be,'' he said. But when he chipped in, he pumped his fist twice and slapped hands with his caddie, Brian Bells, his best friend from home.