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Tiger Woods is back, baby! All those troubles of the past? In the past! He’s gonna win this weekend, he’s gonna win five more majors, he’s gonna prove he’s the best golfer in human history, he’s gonna—
All right. Breathe. Woods is back in contention at a tournament, the first time we can say that in quite some time, and he’s there thanks to some superb putting. He’s switched to a mallet putter from his trusty major-winning Scotty Cameron, and while Thursday ended with an unspectacular even-par 70, Woods played Friday with far more confidence and touch. He ended the day with a five-under 65, and walked into the clubhouse tied for 11th, four strokes off the lead. Here’s how it went down:
How Friday went
Woods began on the 10th hole Friday, and immediately set about exorcising the ghosts of Thursday by burying a 25-foot putt on his very first hole:
Woods would go birdie-bogey-birdie to start the round, then finished out the front nine with another bogey and two birdies, including this gem:
Three more birdies in a four-hole span to start his second nine, and Woods was inside the top 10. Of course, with an early tee time, most of the field had yet to play. So he was already sliding down the leaderboard as play went on (Kevin Streelman’s 62 helped in that regard), but Woods is still in excellent position heading into the weekend.
Woods will make the weekend, obviously, and that means it’s time to start turning attention to winning. Woods’ best finish to date since his most recent comeback is a T2 in the Valspar; you don’t get much better than that. Woods hasn’t won on tour since 2013, but you have to figure that this tournament is his best chance in a long time. No disrespect to Friday leaders Beau Hossler, Joel Dahmen and Zac Blair, but they’re not exactly Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas. If Woods is going to notch a win, this is a perfect opportunity, and if he can’t here, you have to start wondering when it’ll ever come.
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