PGA Championship Round 2: Tiger Woods does what he needs to do

UPDATE 2, Saturday morning, 7 a.m. CT: We’re back. See below.

To remain in contention at the 100th PGA Championship, Tiger Woods needs to go low, really low, in Round 2 at Bellerive Country Club. Already two players have fired 7-under 63s (tying the record low for a PGA Championship) — Brooks Koepka and Charl Schwartzel. At even par to start the day, Tiger is staring up at a 10-stroke deficit to clubhouse leader Gary Woodland.

Follow along as we track Tiger Woods hole-by-hole:

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Hole 1, Par 4, 425 yards

To provide some context, Koepka birdied each of the first three holes en route to his 63. And Tony Finau has started his round with five straight birdies. So yeah, the front nine is where anyone hoping to go low Friday — see Kisner and Dustin Johnson — made and are making their hay. So Tiger spraying his approach 30 feet right of the hole, leading to a par, can be seen as a bit of a lost opportunity. Par. Even. T-62.

Hole 2, Par 4, 410 yards

Tiger needs to throw some darts at the greens, and he did just that at 2, sticking his approach to 14 feet. Old Tiger drained these putts. That’s how he won 14 majors. And … he just pulled an Old Tiger. Birdie. 1-under. T-44.

Hole 3, Par 3, 132 yards

Playing as the easiest hole on the course, 3 is an absolute must birdie, especially when you’re nine back. Tiger stuck his tee shot to just over five feet, eliciting a roar from the crowd. (Interesting side note, per Bob Harig of ESPN: Tiger hasn’t had an in-competition ace since 1998.) Center cup on the putt. Back-to-back birdies. Birdie. 2-under. T-31.

Hole 4, Par 4, 520 yards

Pulling out driver for the first time today, Tiger flew it well right into the rough. That led to a tough approach, which ended up just on the front of the green. He nearly holed the chip — “Noooo!” he screamed a bit as it slipped by — and settled for a 4. Par. 2-under. T-29.

Hole 5, Par 4, 471 yards

Fairway. Dart. 10 feet. At this point, Tiger can’t afford to let any opportunity pass him by. So yes, a putt on the fifth hole in Round 2 is a must make. And make it he did. Birdie. 3-under. T-30. 

Hole 6, Par 3, 213 yards

Playing as the toughest hole on the course — this is where Tony Finau tripled after starting his round birdie, birdie, birdie, birdie, birdie (yes, you read that correctly) — walking away from 6 with par is a win. Tiger dumped his tee shot into the green-side bunker. Despite a decent lie, he barely scooped his ball onto the green, setting up a lengthy 15-foot putt just to salvage par. And … he … drained it, with the ball doing a victory lap around the hole before falling in. Huge save. Par. 3-under. T-22.

Hole 7, Par 4, 394 yards

Put himself in good position off the tee, only to leave his approach short of the green (to a front pin placement). And for the second time, thought he had the chip. This one caught the lip of the cup a little hard and bounced out. Par. 3-under. T-21.

Hole 8, Par 5, 610 yards

With thunder booming, play has been suspended.

Tiger has hit his drive just into the left rough.

At this point, we know the lead is not changing. It’s going to be Gary Woodland at 10-under, so you gotta believe Tiger would like to get to at least within, say, four. That means three more birdies. From here on out, the best opportunities come at 8, 11 and 17.

We will pick things up when play resumes.

SATURDAY MORNING: And the day begins on a fine note, as Tiger drops his approach to within five feet, and then drains the birdie like the hole’s five feet wide. He’s moving. Birdie. 4-under. T-17.

Hole 9, Par 4, 433 yards

Woods runs his first shot down the right side of the fairway, and he’s got about 180 yards to the pin. His approach ends up on a shelf below the pin and leaves him a lengthy birdie putt, but there’s no need to get crazy chasing birdies just yet. Woods and Justin Thomas are putting from the same spot, and Woods watches JT’s putt end up falling well short as it climbs the ridge. Woods learns the lesson well, and bangs the putt hard enough to leave himself just a short two-footer for par. Par. 4-under. T-16.

Hole 10, Par 4, 508 yards

Tiger once again busts out the driver, and it doesn’t hurt him this time around; he snipes his tee shot right into the heart of the fairway. His approach clears one of the wicked, constant fairway bunkers, but doesn’t reach the green. It’s up-and-down time. His chip is close, but not close enough for an easy tap-in; call it five feet. The putt rolls just to the right of the hole, and the birdie train halts. Bogey. 3-under. T-27.

Hole 11, Par 4, 355 yards

This is a driveable green, but Tiger takes iron and opts to stay in the fairway. His strategy plays out perfectly, as he fires a nice pullback approach that ends within three feet of the hole, and he bounces back from that bogey with a red number. Birdie. 4-under. T-17.

Hole 12, Par 4, 452 yards

This one starts nasty and gets no better, nestling into the thick wetness off the fairway. His approach barely reaches the green, leaving him 100 or so feet for a two-putt par. He leaves his first putt just five feet short even though he was rolling for a mile. But he’s unable to convert the comebacker, and he drops another shot. He’ll need to pick up the pace if he wants to make a run at the leaders later today. Bogey. 3-under. T-26.

Hole 13, Par 3, 180 yards

Flying the ball to a narrow ridge on which the hole sits, Tiger stuck it juuuuuust a bit too far, and his ball rolled down a slope on the back side, settling 32 feet from the hole. That pretty much took birdie out of play. Par. 3-under. T-25.

Hole 14, Par 4, 422 yards

So this is golf: Tiger sticks his approach to 18 feet, giving himself at least a shot at birdie. Playing partner Rory McIlroy flies his simple approach over the green and is staring at a difficult up-and-down just to save par. So what happens? Rory flops his chip up and in for birdie, while Tiger has to settle for a two-putt par. Par. 3-under. T-24.

Hole 15, Par 4, 499 yards

A bit of a hold-your-breath moment for Tiger, as he was forced to take out the driver on the lengthy par 4. He hasn’t had much confidence in the big stick, hence iron after iron off the tees. This time, however, he striped it right down the middle. He couldn’t take advantage on his approach, though, leaving it 51 feet from the hole. At this point, with holes winding down, call it a missed opportunity. He didn’t gain a stroke and, looking ahead, he’s not doing himself any favors by not going lower to push his pending Round 3 tee time back any. Par. 3-under. T-26.

Hole 16, Par 3, 237 yards

With the way scoring is going, Tiger has to step on the gas to keep the leaders in his sites. He gave himself a shot at birdie on one of the toughest holes on the course — 21 feet. He rolled the putt nicely, but it just slipped by on the left side. Par. 3-under. T-25.

Hole 17, Par 5, 597 yards

Last best shot for birdie and Tiger absolutely needs it. He got off the tee in great shape, sliced a perfect wood to the front of the green, giving him a lengthy, but entirely makeable 33-foot eagle putt. It didn’t go down, but it made for an easy birdie. Birdie. 4-under. T-19.

Hole 18, Par 4, 457 yards

Tiger has spent the back nine gaining and then giving back strokes, and after a drive in the far right rough, par would be a good score on 18. He managed to fly his second to the green, though with no angle at the pin, his ball winds up on the far left side, 88 feet from the hole. A solid lag made for good par. Par. 4-under. T-19.

Overall, a solid round of 66 for Tiger. Surely he’d have liked to have gotten to 6-under, but he did what he needed to do to stay in contention. Now it’s time to regroup, hope the back doesn’t stiffen up, and get ready for Round 3 in a few hours.

<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/pga/players/147/" data-ylk="slk:Tiger Woods">Tiger Woods</a> starts Round 2 of the PGA Championship trailing by 10 strokes. (AP)
Tiger Woods starts Round 2 of the PGA Championship trailing by 10 strokes. (AP)

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