ORLANDO, Fla. — Charlie Wi felt a lot better walking off the golf course compared with his last round.
So did Tiger Woods.
Coming off a final round at Innisbrook in which he made 13 on one hole, Wi hit an 8-iron over the water to 6 feet for birdie on the 18th for 6-under-par 66, giving him a share of the lead with Jason Dufner in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
It’s the fourth time Dufner has been atop the leaderboard after a round during the Florida swing – except that none of those rounds have been on Sunday.
The last time Woods was seen on the PGA Tour, he was being driven away in a golf cart after withdrawing in the middle of the final round at Doral with soreness and swelling in his left Achilles tendon.
Woods, a six-time champion at Bay Hill, shot 69 without breaking a sweat, much less breaking any body parts. There was nothing particularly special about this round, except for a 30-foot birdie putt that swirled around the cup at the 15th, and a couple of three-putt bogeys that kept his score from being lower.
“I didn’t really do anything great today,” said Woods, who had only two approach shots inside 15 feet on the par 3s and par 4s. “I was just solid all day.”
Behind him, though, it was a different story.
Phil Mickelson was all over the place, going from a bunker to a magnolia tree on his way to an unlikely par; hitting a tee shot out of bounds for double bogey; hitting into the water for another double bogey; and escaping with 73.
This is Woods’ last event before the Masters Tournament, where he has not won since 2005.
It’s part of eight consecutive days of golf, which began Sunday with a scouting trip to Augusta National, and there has been concern that his Achilles tendon might flare up again.
Woods said he has no way of knowing if it will tighten up on him as it did at Doral, though he said he has dealt with tightness before and it didn’t linger.