Tiger Woods hit the fairways in front of an enthusiastic crowd in the second round of the Genesis Invitational Friday as he tried to use his momentum from an incredible opening round to progress through to the weekend.
The 47-year-old shagged the last three holes to record an incredible first round, two under par yesterday as he proved he could still find good form.
And his game showed no signs of slowing down on day two as he set up an instant birdie chance.
Woods hit the back nine alongside playmates Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas in the second round, playing it safe by serving on 10 but being rewarded with an outstanding iron shot into the green that left him with an eight-foot rise putt.
His birdie streak, carried over from the previous saying, ended at three when the ball grazed the bottom of the cup, but the icon was left with an easy par putt to start his round.
Tiger Woods looked to continue his impressive form on Friday during day two of the Genesis Invitational
The 47-year-old was again enthusiastically received by the assembled fans on the 10th
The American icon’s game showed no signs of slowing down with a smooth start on Friday
Woods moved further into position with a well thought out approach on the par-5 11, trailing behind with another birdie putt. But while his long game was still sizzling, it seemed his putter needed to heat up as he was once again unable to capitalize.
He had to rue those missed chances on 12 when, after two erratic shots off the tee and the rough, he ended sandy and despite an impressive try from the bunker on the greenside, Woods’ putter bounced and he failed to keep the par.
Just as the wind seemed to have blown out of its sails with another bogey on 13, the ever-resilient legend bounced off the tee with the perfect shot on 14.
Woods teased the weary crowd with a near-ace. It landed in the perfect spot, rolled within a foot of a hole, and was an easy tip for his first birdie of the day. Textbook Tigers.
Just as his chances kept slipping from his fingers with another missed birdie putt on the par 16th, Woods showed glimpses of his prime with a fantastic approach to the 17th green and taped the landing to himself to make its way back to the two-under.
Woods closed the front nine with another par to 18, heading into the corner for the day but knowing he could have easily been in the red for his second round.
Woods, calm and measured, drove a series of pars through his back nine until he hit a big hurdle on six.
His drive flirted with staying on the upper level but trickled down the slope to the front edge of the green in apparent slow motion.
Woods made a step-by-step fit for his playing partners Rory McIlroy (C) and Justin Thomas (R).
The star had to regret two missed putts for birdie on his first two holes of the day
Woods went erratically off the tee on the 12th and failed to save par, dropping his first shot of the day
Rather than hitting a pitch shot that would have sent the superintendent to tears, he surprisingly pulled out his putter – a move that practically guaranteed a bogey as the ball swept the left side of the dreaded sixth green bunker, curling around his lip and fell back into the sand.
But in what can arguably be described as a sand save, Woods managed to minimize the damage to just one bogey, hitting it out of the bunker and sinking the putt that followed.
All eyes were on Woods Thursday as huge crowds followed his group through the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, to witness the great’s first tournament with a cut since The Open last July.
And the American golf hero turned back the clock to record an unexpectedly impressive round in which he caught McIlroy and Thomas step by step and often overtook them despite his ongoing injury worries.
Woods went to the clubhouse Thursday night 27th on the leaderboard at two-under while McIlroy was at four-under T6 and Thomas at three-under T11.
Many will be excited to see how Woods’ body holds up with his late finish/early start into Friday’s second round as he battles injuries to find greater success in the twilight of his career.
Following the Genesis Invitational, Woods is hoping to head to the Players’ Championship at TPC Sawgrass next month before returning to Augusta for the first major of the year – The Masters.
At a press conference ahead of Tuesday’s Genesis Open, Woods was quick to insist that he believed he could win the tournament.
The Tiger fan club took to the Riviera fairways to follow the golf icon
Woods showed glimpses of his prime with a fantastic approach to the 17th green
“I wouldn’t have sat down here if I didn’t think I could beat these guys,” Woods said ahead of the event, which has drawn 19 of the top 20 players in the world.
“I’m here to get a W, okay? So I don’t get that making the cut is a great thing,” Woods said. “When I attend the event, it’s always to get a W. At some point, my body won’t allow it anymore, and probably sooner rather than later.
“But wrapping my lead around that transition and playing the ambassador role and just trying to be out here with the boys, no, that’s not in my DNA.”
Woods only managed nine laps in 2022 due to complications related to the limb-threatening injuries he sustained in his car accident the previous year.
The 15-time Major winner wowed with an opening round of two under par on Thursday
McIlroy seemed just as shocked as the rest of the golfing world by Woods’ amazing performance
The crowd went wild as Woods shagged 16, 17 and 18 to go to the clubhouse with Two-Under
Most recently, this meant the 47-year-old had to withdraw from the Hero World Challenge in December due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot. However, later in the month he played with his son Charlie in the two-round PNC Championship, where players are allowed to use strollers.
“Plantar fasciitis isn’t fun and now I can really recover and heal and progress because there are so many good things I’ve been able to do physically to be able to hit the golf ball and practice and do everything while still standing,” he said Woods on December 18 on the issue.
“But I haven’t been able to get from point A to point B and will obviously work on it.”
Woods is the tournament host of the long-running event at Riviera Country Club, where he made his PGA Tour debut in 1992 as a 16-year-old amateur but never won it as a pro.