Tiger Woods feels positive on his chances of contending at US Open

Tiger Woods feels his game is in “good shape” heading into the US Open, although admitted he will need to improve his putting to contend at Shinnecock Hills.

Woods finished just inside the top 25 at The Memorial Tournament after closing with a level-par 72, having initially threatened to make a late charge up the leaderboard when he holed from 15 feet for birdie at the first.

The five-time Muirfield Village champion picked up another shot at the fifth to get within four shots of the lead, but he then missed another three-foot putt for par at the 10th.

The 42-year-old clawed the shot straight back, but his challenge effectively ended when he carved his drive out-of-bounds at the 13th and, although he limited the damage to a bogey, he dropped another shot at 16 before parring in to stay at nine under.

Woods ended the week flying high in the tee-to-green statistics, but his putting ranking was second-bottom of the players who made the cut as he three-putted five times and also missed seven putts from inside five feet. He missed only nine of those in the entire 2006 PGA Tour season.

“Overall, my game is where it needs to be heading into the US Open and that’s very positive,” said Woods, who finished tied for 17th on 10-over par the last time the US Open was played at Shinnecock Hills in 2004.

“I had some chances to shoot some good rounds this week, I just need to hit better putts. I just didn’t feel comfortable with my lines and my feel was a little bit off. Consequently I missed a bunch of putts.

“But I hit it really good this week, so that’s a positive going into Shinnecock, where ball-striking is going to be a must. And if I just putt normally, I’ll probably be right up there in the last couple of groups. If I just keep building on this, with how I’m hitting it right now, I’m in good shape for two weeks from now.

“I’ve had little building blocks along the way, and I keep getting a little bit better, a little bit more refined, and you start to see the results.

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“I’m starting to hit the golf ball better. If I just make a few more putts like I did earlier in the year, when I was putting really well, you put those two together, then we’ll have something.”