Tiger signs off at Firestone on high note for next week

AKRON, Ohio Sun Aug 5, 2012 5:25pm EDT

Tiger Woods of the U.S. watches his second shot on the first hole during the final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational golf tournament in Akron, Ohio, August 5, 2012. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan

Tiger Woods of the U.S. watches his second shot on the first hole during the final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational golf tournament in Akron, Ohio, August 5, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Matt Sullivan

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AKRON, Ohio (Reuters) - Though Tiger Woods ended up well short of victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday, he gave himself a perfect send-off for next week's PGA Championship at Kiawah Island.

Having failed to break par in first two rounds at Firestone Country Club, the American world number two signed off with a flawless four-under-par 66, describing his game from tee to green as "dialed in".

He lipped out with a birdie putt from 18 feet on the final hole and was happy with how he finished his week at a tight, tree-lined venue where he has triumphed six times in the elite World Golf Championships (WGC) event.

"I played well today," Woods told reporters after recording four birdies to post a four-under total of 276. "I hit a lot of good shots and never really sniffed making a bogey all day. So that was a good day."

Asked if he felt confident about next week's PGA Championship, he replied: "I feel very good about where I'm at. I'm excited about it."

Woods, who has triumphed a season-high three times on the 2012 PGA Tour, was especially pleased with how he managed to turn his putting around after struggling on the slick Firestone greens in the first two rounds.

"I putted well the last two days, which was good," he said after totaling 29 putts in the final round. "I made some putts and, more importantly, I hit the ball on my start lines. That's something I did not do the first couple days.

"I mis-read a couple, but that's just the way it goes. But at least every putt was starting on the right line, and that's something that I'm very excited about going into next week."

A four-times winner of the PGA Championship, Woods has not won a major title since his remarkable playoff victory at the 2008 U.S. Open where he was severely hampered by a double stress fracture in his left shinbone.

Based on his performance at Firestone on Sunday, he has every reason to be in upbeat mood over his prospects at Kiawah Island in the final major of the year.

"My tee-to-green game today was, I thought, pretty dialed in," he said. "I was hitting it long, I was hitting it straight, and my irons I was shaping both ways in all different trajectories with the wind blowing.

"That was about as absolute high a score as I could possibly shoot today."

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Simon Evans)

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