Woods battling back to form

Published: Friday 5th December 2014 by The News Editor

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Tiger Woods bounced back from his opening day doom at the Hero World Challenge as he fired a two-under-par 70 on Friday.

The 38-year-old is making his comeback this week after four months out through injury and had a nightmare first round as he sunk to the bottom of the leaderboard after an opening 77.

That round will almost certainly have ended any chance the 14-time major winner had of winning the tournament he annually hosts which benefits his foundation, but only a double-bogey on the last stopped him from dipping into the 60s on Friday.

Woods opened with a birdie but gave that shot back on eight before an eagle on the par-five 13th brought his round to life.

A birdie followed on 14 and another on 16 had Woods four under for the day but a rain delay of around 90 minutes after he came off 17 halted his momentum and a flat finish on the last meant he was three-over for the tournament.

Despite taking seven shots less than he did in his opening round, Woods did not feel that his play was markedly better on Friday.

“It wasn’t a whole lot different,” he told Sky Sports 4. “I maybe hit two less worse shots than I did yesterday, but it really wasn’t that much different.”

Woods has spent a lot of time away from the game in recent years and admits it is not always easy to get back into his rhythm.

“Sometimes it takes me a few holes, sometimes it can only take me a shot to feel like I’m back into tournament mode,” he added.

“It all depends on my preparation, but also it depends on my feels.”

Woods was still propping up the leaderboard, but at the other end Jordan Spieth had opened up a two-shot lead over Henrik Stenson.

The weather delay meant that the later starters were playing in almost total darkness and Spieth was five under for his round and 11 under for the tournament when he picked up his ball on 18 and he will return to finish on Saturday morning.

The 21-year-old reached the turn level after two birdies and a double bogey but he picked up shots on 10, 12,13, 14 and 16 to overhaul Stenson.

“If I did it over again, I may have stopped playing on 17,” he said. “But I thought we may be able to get it in here.

“With a tricky lie down there into the green it’s just a good idea to hit that pitch tomorrow.”

Stenson finished with a 68 and would have been alongside Spieth were it not for bogeys on 15 and 16 which dropped him into second after six birdies in his first 13 holes.

Patrick Reed was a further shot back after registering the low round of the day with a 63 and he admitted that, after reaching the turn in 29, his mind wandered to going sub-60.

“After I birdied 10 it kind of got in my mind, but I thought it for about hole 11 and 12 and after that I was like, ‘you just need to get back and play golf’.”

Justin Rose was also on eight under courtesy of a 64 which saw him birdie nine of his last 13 holes after dropping over par for the day with a double bogey on five.

Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker were a further shot back with Jason Day, Keegan Bradley, Chris Kirk and Zach Johnson all on six under.

Steve Stricker was the only other player alongside Spieth who did not finish their round and he will return to the 18th green on Saturday morning.

Published: Friday 5th December 2014 by The News Editor

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