"It's imperative for me to get the ball in play, and if I'm there, go ahead and attack". "So it was pretty cool to get it done". It was the fifth round they've played together this year.
Woods bounced back from a bogey on 10 with a birdie on 11, but he made two double bogeys, two bogeys and a birdie over the next five.
Woods, an eight-times victor at Firestone, electrified the gallery with three early birdies but in the end managed only a middling 68 on a course that was there for the taking, with soft greens allowing players to fire aggressively at the pins.
Tiger Woods reacts after missing a putt on the 17th hole during the second round of the Bridgestone Invitational on Friday.
"I felt better with my game than I did yesterday, for sure", he said.
It is Sunday at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
One would be tempted to suggest that Thomas, just about the most impressive player in the world today, will repeat the exercise today and...
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The effort sent Woods from just five shots from the lead after two rounds to trailing 11 shots behind fellow American Justin Thomas (67) heading to the final round in the last staging of the event at the Firestone Country Club course in Akron, Ohio.
Adding to the emotion of 25-year-old Thomas' victory was the joy of having his grandparents, Paul and Phyllis Thomas, in the gallery. We underrate how hard it is to present sufficient encores to elite seasons (which is what past year was), but Thomas has made it look fairly simple with maybe the most complete game on tour. "The golf course is playing very soft, very receptive".
"I've been coming since my dad took me when it was four players in the world series of golf back in the 60's", Wilmoth said. He was even for the week and in a tie for 32nd when he finished. Maybe I might be here when the Senior Tour comes around.
As for Firestone, it has been an fantastic run for Woods at the course that will no longer be host for the tournament - it is moving to Memphis next year.
The World Golf Championship will move to Memphis in 2019.
Dustin Johnson threatened to pile the pressure on the leader when he raced to seven under for the day after 10 holes and got to within three of Thomas, but the world No 1 could not keep his run going and he settled for a 64 and a share of third with Thorbjorn Olesen, who also closed with a six-under round to boost his Ryder Cup hopes. He went 1 over the rest of the way for a 68, leaving him five shots behind.
McIlroy remained the most likely threat early on when he matched Thomas' birdie at the second, and Thomas then opened the door for the chasing pack when a poor drive led to a bogey at the sixth.
Fleetwood, who contended at both the USA and British Opens this summer, has emerged as a player of the highest calibre, even without a breakthrough win in the United States.