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Woods has early triple at Memorial, then regroups

Sunday - 6/2/2013, 8:24pm  ET

Tiger Woods reacts to missing a birdie putt on the 10th hole during the final round of the Memorial golf tournament on Sunday, June 2, 2013, in Dublin, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

RUSTY MILLER
AP Sports Writer

DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) -- For the second day in a row, Tiger Woods made a triple bogey before he had a birdie.

"It wasn't that bad today," he said. "It was just one hole that cost me, obviously, a few shots."

Woods, stricken with an erratic touch on the greens for most of the week, continued to struggle to find his game early in Sunday's final round of the Memorial Tournament.

It took nine holes to make a triple-bogey 7 on Saturday. A day later, it took three.

After opening with two pars, Woods' iron shot to the signature par-3 12th found the back bunker. Faced with an awkward stance -- his left leg extended and his right knee resting on the edge of the trap -- he advanced the ball just 15 feet, but at least improved his stance.

"I was just trying to put the ball against the face on the upslope on the other side so I had a chance to spin the next one," Woods said. "It actually rolled back on the bottom where there's no sand."

From there he blasted out, the ball running down a swale in the middle of the green, rolling to the first cut.

From 14 feet, however, he three-putted for the triple.

"I hit a decent (second shot from the sand) and it obviously skipped by," Woods said. "The first (putt) was awful; just bad speed. The second putt I pulled as well."

The five-time Memorial winner and defending champion regrouped with five birdies against one bogey the rest of the way, but the damage had already been done. His closing even-par 72 left him at 8-over and a tie for 65th, 20 shots behind winner Matt Kuchar.

It was the farthest Woods had finished behind a winner in a full-field event. He finished 30 shots behind Hunter Mahan at Firestone in 2010 and 20 shots behind Tom Lehman in the 1996 Tour Championship at Southern Hills. Both those tournaments have limited fields with no cuts.

Woods had sagged to an 8-over 44 on the back nine in Saturday's third round -- the worst nine-hole score he has had since turning pro. That was part of a 79, which matched the second-worst score he's had since playing for pay.

His score of 296 was his worst in 14 trips to the Memorial -- eight shots higher than his previous high.

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OVERHEARD: On the 11th tee, a spectator saw the mass of people following Woods' threesome, including several sheriff's deputies, and said, "Look at all the Secret Service agents following him!"

Later, a woman near the 13th green watched Woods approach the green and said, "I don't really believe he wants to be here." Seconds later, she added, "Of course, I think he wanted to leave yesterday."

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SORENSTAM IS SELECTED: Each year the Memorial Tournament honors a prominent player or contributor to golf. The honoree this year was Raymond Floyd, a contemporary of tournament founder and host Jack Nicklaus, who won four major championships.

On Sunday, the body which oversees the tournament announced that the 2014 honoree would be former LPGA star Annika Sorenstam.

Sorenstam had 89 worldwide wins -- the most by any female. She won 10 major championships in a stellar 15-year career. The Swede was selected as the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year from 2003-2005.

In 2001, she became the first woman to break the 60 barrier, shooting a 13-under 59 in the second round of the Standard Register PING, still the lowest round in LPGA history. From 2001-2005, Sorenstam won 43 times and finished in the top three nearly 70 percent of the time.

After winning three times in 2008, Sorenstam abruptly retired from competitive golf at the age of 37. She and her husband, Mike McGee, have two children.

She will be honored in a ceremony the day before the start of the 2014 Memorial.

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LOOKING TO MERION: With the U.S. Open coming up the week after next at Merion, the top players hoped to use the Memorial Tournament as a stepping stone to the next major championship.

Rory McIlroy opened with a 78 and needed to shoot a 69 on Friday just to make the cut at Muirfield Village. He followed that with rounds of 75 and 72 and declared himself primed for the Open.

"It feels OK, actually. I found a couple of little things this weekend," said the world's No. 2-ranked player. "I hit the ball much better today. I actually putted a little better, too. It feels pretty good."

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