Tiger Woods said he just tried to grind and not shoot himself out of the Arnold Palmer Invitational after stumbling in the second round.
The 14-time major champion got off to a rough start on Friday, shooting two-over par 32 on the front nine before rallying for an even-par 72 to be seven strokes adrift of leaders Henrik Stenson and Bryson Dechambeau.
Woods – full of confidence following his runner-up finish at the Valspar Championship last week – remains four under heading into the weekend, in a share of 17th position.
Reflecting on his performance, Woods – an eight-time champion at Bay Hill Golf Course – told reporters: "Today was a hard fight. It was a grind.
"It wasn't sharp, but I hung in there and just kept grinding away and chipped away at the golf course.
"I didn't hit the ball close, I didn't hit the ball well, but I was just hanging in there, hanging in there and just try not to shoot myself out of the tournament, just keep myself in the tournament.
"I thought something in the red would be great and I just wasn't quite able to do it, but came close."
Despite the tough day, Woods was at least pleased with one part of his game.
"I was fighting and didn't hit anything close. I had some, I had a couple wedges in my hand and didn't hit them within 20 feet. So it was a little off today and the only thing that I felt really good with was my putter," he said. "Even though I blew it off the green on nine, I hit a beautiful second putt and the putter was releasing and flowing, really felt good. But I just couldn't get to the green fast enough."
Woods has an uphill climb over the weekend if he is going to pick up his ninth win at Bay Hill and first PGA Tour victory since 2013.
"Well I'm quite a few back. I'm seven back right now," Woods said. "There's a lot of guys between myself and the lead and if it gets warm like it's supposed to get on the weekend then we're going to make some birdies, the golf course is going to be very short, the only thing that's going to maybe be a deterrent is I don't think they're going to put any water on these things.
"They're starting to get a little burned out. The fairway on 15 was really quick. Jason hit a two-iron that went about 325 yards. That's the way this golf course is meant to be played, that's how Arnold always wanted it to be played, he always wanted it hard, fast, he wanted the greens dead by the time we played on Sunday and I think we're going to have that."
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