For Tiger Woods, it was do-or-die.
And he did in electrifying fashion — sinking an 82-yard eagle on the 13th hole at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship golf tournament in Austin, Texas, on Friday to advance to weekend play.
Woods had mounted a comeback against Patrick Cantlay, taking a 1-up lead ahead of the 13th hole. The par-4 hole played only 276 yards, all over water, amid a stiff breeze. Cantlay’s drive had settled in a knob above the green, 40 feet from the hole for a chance at eagle. And then it was time for a decision.
“I knew I needed to put it up there to at least have a chance at 3, to force him to have a good pitch,” Woods said.
With 82 yards to go, Woods swung his wedge and smacked the ball down the fairway. The ball stopped about 5 feet behind the hole on its second bounce and gently spun back toward the hole. Fans rose to their feet in the stands behind the green and let out a thunderous cheer for Woods when it sunk.
The eagle on No. 13 helped propel Woods to a 4-and-2 victory over Cantlay. But it was only one of Woods’ incredible shots from the tournament.
A day earlier, Woods pulled off a first-class recovery shot when his ball landed under a bush. From his knees, Woods took a left-handed shot that knocked the ball just a few feet from the pin. He sunk it for par.
Woods’ next match is set for Saturday against Rory McIlroy, who has a chance to return to No. 1 in the world if he wins the tournament.
“We’ve played tournaments together, battled each other down the stretch at event, but never in a match-play situation,” Woods said. “It’ll be fun.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.