By Simon Evans
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Florida (Reuters) - Tiger Woods carded his third even-par round of 70 at the Honda Classic on Saturday as he undid a promising front round with a double bogey on the 17th.
Woods was nine strokes adrift of the overnight leader Luke Guthrie and was left frustrated at a missed opportunity to close the gap.
"I thought realistically, five or six under-par would be a good score and I thought if I posted that I would be within six or seven shots of the lead tomorrow. I didn't do it and consequently I am nine back," he told reporters.
The 14-times major winner got off to a quick start, with birdies at the first and third holes and then the par-four eighth.
But a bogey on the 10th, where he found the greenside bunker, disrupted his momentum before he got in trouble on the penultimate hole.
On the par-three 17th, part of the 'Bear Trap' series of holes, Woods found the watery banking and his ball was declared lost, forcing him to re-tee and he then two-putted for a double.
The former world number one got in difficulty on the par-five final hole too. His second shot crashed into the stands and after taking a drop he found a back green bunker.
Smart work out of the sand enabled Woods to make par but he was nonetheless disappointed not to have made more progress.
"I was playing really solidly all day. I caught a bad mudball on 10 and hit a slice hook made bogey. On 18 hit another bad one, hook-slice.
"On 17, just stuck it in the ground a little bit, caught the wind and rode it over there and ended up making double," he said.
Woods said his current form wasn't vastly inferior to that he showed in winning the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in late January.
"It's not that far off. I feel I am just probably not quite driving it as well - I am driving it long but not quite as well," he said.
"My iron game is pretty good and my short game is way better than it was at Torrey. I feel very comfortable with my putting and I just need to obviously play a little more and attack from there, everything else is pretty good," he said.
(Editing by Gene Cherry)