After a roller coaster of a first round on Wednesday at the Hero World Challenge, it was smooth sailing for Tiger Woods in Round 2 in the Bahamas. Woods shot an impressive bogey-free 66 to get to 6 under on the round and the week. He’ll have a late tee time on Friday in Round 3 as his reward.
Let’s take a deep dive into his second round as the host of this event.
Front nine (1-under 35): After playing the front nine in 2 over yesterday, Woods said he had to be better on the par 5s, of which there are three on the front side of the course. He was on Thursday — his only birdie on the front came on a par 5 — but he’ll likely lament not playing them even better than that after Thursday’s round.
Back nine (5-under 31): For the second day in a row, Woods burned on the second nine. Another eagle, three more birdies and — most importantly — a clean par, par finish left him 6 under on the day and looking for the leaders in the clubhouse.
Woods made an eagle and three birdies on Wednesday as well, but he closed those out with a bogey-double finish on the last two holes. This time he went 3-4 on those holes for a clean 18-hole card. His shot into No. 18 was a revelation. It’s a hole he’s struggled with over the years, but he hit his approach left of the pin between the hole and the water. A near-miss on his birdie attempt was the only thing that stood between him and 65.
What went well: He just didn’t make mistakes. At the time Woods finished, it was the only bogey-free round of the week at Albany Golf Course. His approach shots — like this one on the par-5 11th that led to eagle — were on point and gave him so many runs ad birdie and eagle.
When that happens, somebody with Tiger’s short game is going to capitalize with a big round. Maybe it’s because the wind was down, or maybe Woods needed to knock some rust off on Wednesday, but his approaches were premium, and he was locked in with his iron play on Thursday.
Quote of the day: “Yesterday was tough with the wind blowing, especially on the putts. Today was a little less windy, the ball was flying and I got after it today.” Yes, he did.
Stat of the day: After shooting two rounds of 66 or better for the first 10 months of 2019, Woods has now shot four of his last six — between this tournament and the Zozo Championship in November — at 66 or better.
Where he stands: Tiger was in the top five and four back of leader Patrick Reed at the time he finished. Very much in it going into the final 36 holes.
What’s next: Wouldn’t it be remarkable if Woods — who is hosting this week and the captain next week at the Presidents Cup — won two tournaments in a row to end 2019 and lead into the team event in Australia? Like, that would be astonishing, right? And yet, we’re two rounds from it playing out just like that going into the twilight of the 2019 season and on into 2020.