It was barely enough to keep pace.
Woods made back-to-back birdies to begin his round Sunday, but two bogeys and a birdie later he made the turn in one-under 34.
"It was very similar to the first day, " Woods said.
"It is the first time I have cried after winning a tournament. So today was about the same, and I didn't make anything".
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Now, three victories later, he has closed the gap on Spieth - 11 PGA Tour victories for Spieth, nine for Thomas.
The Holywood man, who won here in 2014 as part of his dominant stretch that also saw him win The Open and US PGA Championship, got off to a strong start after birdieing the second despite a wayward drive which finished on the adjacent third hole, and the four-time Major victor was then nearly hit by a shot from the group in front who were actually playing the par-four.
A good par save at the mammoth par-four ninth saw him make the turn two under for the day, only for a poor wedge shot over the 10th green to leave him with an nearly impossible shot, leading to a bogey.
McIlroy's frustrating 73 left him in a tie for sixth, while Poulter signed off with a 74 to close on seven under alongside Jason Day, who got to within two of the lead until suffering a huge collapse on the inward half. McIlroy and Thomas live in South Florida, practice at The Bear's Club that Jack Nicklaus built, and spent several days practicing last week.
"I play the golf course for what it has, and that's about as aggressive as I'll ever play this place", he said.
Tiger Woods's final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational started with plenty of promise, but hours later it turned out to be one of his worst rounds of the season. Marc Leishman, who played alongside Woods, shot 67 and joined Kyle Stanley (70) five shots behind. "The golf course is playing very soft, very receptive". Though any struggling hasn't been apparent, yet. Otherwise, it was all pars through his first 12 holes. It added up to a solid 3-under-par 69 and the prospect of a first win on the LPGA Tour, let alone a first major title.
"Well, I'm going to have to [go low]", Woods said. He finished outside the top 40 in strokes gained putting as well as strokes gained around the green but gained strokes on the field with his driver and finished top 10 in approach shots.
U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka had a 67 to finish fifth.
From that heart-to-heart, Thomas threw everything he had at the game's best and came away with the most dominant victory of his career.
"I'm fine. I just played like crap", Woods said with frankness after he fell from the top-10 to T-28 with a 3-under 207 aggregate score, 11 off Justin Thomas' lead.
From 212 yards on No. 18, he missed shooting 59 by inches.
"With a three-shot lead you kind of have a little bit of wiggle room and you feel like you maybe play a little too conservative, but I was able to kind of dwell on past learning experiences and you always try to get it higher". I told him, that's really mature of you. The ball barely scooted by on the right, leaving an 8-foot putt for eagle.