AUSTIN, Texas — Tiger Woods had a few impressive moments — including hitting a shot left-handed from under a tree and saving par — but it wasn’t enough to overcome Brandt Snedeker on Thursday at Austin Country Club.
Woods struggled to hit the ball close in windy conditions and had a poor day on the greens, falling to Snedeker 2 and 1 on the second day of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship.
He will need a victory and some help on Friday in order to advance to the final 16 players and the knockout stage of the tournament.
Woods declined to speak with the media afterward, telling a PGA Tour media official that “all I can do is hopefully get a point tomorrow and see if that is good enough.”
The top player in each of 16 groups advances to the weekend. Snedeker now controls his fate, as a win Friday against Aaron Wise would clinch his spot in the final 16.
Woods needs a victory over Patrick Cantlay — who defeated Wise 4 and 2 — and a Snedeker loss to advance. If Snedeker and Wise tie, then Woods would go to a sudden-death playoff with Snedeker to determine the group winner.
“It was difficult conditions out there today,” Woods said. “The wind was pumping and if you went around there with no bogeys, you probably win your fair share of holes. We both made a couple of mistakes out there, but he made a few less mistakes than I did.”
Woods’ biggest came at the par-4 13th, when trailing by just a hole, he went first off the tee with an iron and pumped it into the water. That led to a double-bogey 6 and allowed Snedeker to win the hole and go 2-up with a bogey.
Earlier in the round, Woods chose to lay up off the 10th tee, and was 100 yards behind Snedeker, who found the green. Woods hit a poor approach that came to rest under a tree, from where he somehow got it to 5 feet by hitting it left handed. He converted the putt to save the hole, but it was one of too few highlights.
Snedeker, a nine-time winner on the PGA Tour, had played with Woods 13 times in PGA Tour rounds and never beat him — a stat he was unaware of.
“I know he’s beat me a lot,” Snedeker said. “I mean, it’s Tiger. I don’t get paired with him a lot on Thursday or Friday. So if I’m playing with him it’s probably late on the weekend. If he’s playing good, that’s typically where he is. He’s just really good at what he does.”
Just not good enough Thursday. Woods needed 31 putts through just 17 holes and had trouble hitting short iron shots close.
Snedeker won the third hole with a birdie then gave it back with a bogey at the fourth. He went ahead with a birdie at the par-6 sixth, where Woods missed a birdie putt from 5 feet. Woods went 2 down with a three-putt bogey at the seventh, then got within one with a birdie at the eighth. He would never get the match tied again.
After going 2-down through 14, Woods came right back with a birdie from a fairway bunker at the 14th, knocking it to 2 feet. But he couldn’t make a birdie on the par-5, where Snedeker put him in the 2-down hole.
“I’m probably the most hated man in Texas right now for like the last few holes,” Snedeker said. “I bet you my kids were probably rooting for him late in the round.”