published Sunday, April 8th, 2012

Tiger Woods way back

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Four-time Masters champion Tiger Woods has never finished worse than a tie for 22nd at the April major tournament as a professional.

He is tied for 38th today after shooting an even-par 72 on Saturday, far below expectations for the pre-tournament favorite.

He entered the week on an upswing, having won the Arnold Palmer Invitational two weeks ago and having finished in the top 25 in four of his five PGA Tour events this year.

"Obviously I need help this afternoon," said Woods, who finished his round as the leaders started. "Regardless of what they do, I need to play a great round of golf tomorrow, and hopefully I can do that."

Woods shot 72 in the first round and a 75 in the second, and so far this is the first time he has not shot a sub-par round in a Masters.

"He has no game," CBS commentator Nick Faldo said. "He hasn't got the self-belief that he had before he crashed and burned in his personal life."

Woods worked with swing coach Sean Foley on the practice range until dark Friday in trying to find a swing that would get him through the weekend.

The extra work produced little results. Woods made two birdies and two bogeys in his first nine holes and made par on each hole on the back nine.

"I was so close to putting it together today," Woods said. "I was very patient out there. I was grinding hard and it was tough today."

Stallings seeks return

Tennessee Tech graduate Scott Stallings is having the time of his life at the Masters. He accomplished his first goal of making the cut. He made a move Saturday toward his second goal of the week of finishing in the top 16.

Stallings shot a 2-under 70 and moved up to a tie for 27th place after 54 holes.

"I played good and the score was really good," Stallings said. "I squandered a couple opportunities, then made a couple putts and got under par. I could have shot a good mid-60s round."

The top 16 and ties are invited to play the Masters the following year. He is three shots off that magic mark.

"I've got nothing to lose and everything to gain," Stallings said. "Try to play as good as you can, then post your score. This is my favorite tournament I've played in my whole life. Hopefully I can continue to play well and give get myself back here for multiple years."

Stallings played with 2010 PGA Championship winner Martin Kaymer in the group behind Woods and Charl Schwartzel.

"Playing behind him is fine, but playing in front of him is a challenge," Stallings said. "I couldn't imagine playing in front of him today. You find out very fast where you stand with the fans.

Tap-ins

Gary Woodland withdrew Saturday after his round because of a wrist injury. He was 12 over for the tournament after shooting a 13-over 85 on Saturday. ... Jack Nicklaus, Faldo and Woods are likely to remain the only players to win back-to-back Masters, since the defending champion is 6 over and 15 shots behind Peter Hanson. ... U.S. Amateur champion Kelly Kraft will play his final round as an amateur today before turning pro Monday and playing in the Valero Texas Open next week.

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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