Tiger Woods score: Great round sullied by struggles at the final hole in Round 2 at Hero World Challenge
Big Cat had it rolling right up until the very end
Tiger Woods showed marked improvement in Round 2 of the 2018 Hero World Challenge as he strung together another great day with the driver, but this time paired it with some terrific iron play which led to loads of birdies. His reward was a 5-under score through 17 holes (we'll get to the 18th in a minute) and a spot in the top five on the leaderboard. It went downhill from there, and it went down hill in a hurry.
Front nine (3-under 33): Woods birdied all three par 5s on the front nine to go out in 33 and get into red figured on the week after starting his second round at 1 over. Two of those were from short range, and his third -- at the ninth hole -- was from about 10 feet. He had several other great looks at birdie and realistically could have shot 30 on the front, but the 33 was plenty to get in the conversation of the tournament.
Back nine (even-par 36): Woods continued his strong play with a pair of birdies at Nos. 14 and 15 (another par 5) and looked destined to play in one of the final few pairings on Saturday in Round 3. Then came his drive at the 18th. Tiger pushed it out to the right, and this is where it ended up.
He would make a double bogey from there, which left him with an even-par 36 on the back and a 3-under 69 in Round 2. He's now 2 under on the week, well back of both where he had been and where the lead was at the time.
What went well: The ball-striking looked terrific. That's not exactly breaking news, but it is encouraging considering what it looked like last week in "The Match" with Phil Mickelson. It's always fun watching Tiger try and shape and bend different shots, and he was seemingly doing that throughout the day on Friday (inasmuch as one shapes and bends shots on a wide open course like this one).
What went poorly: He didn't make anything on these greens. This course can skew how well you're actually hitting it, but Woods had so many missed opportunities for birdie on Friday. He easily could have made eight or nine birds instead of the five. The other thing that went poorly? How about this shot out of the brush on No. 18. There was some chatter that he may have double hit the ball (which would have been a penalty), but the official ruling was that he didn't.
Quote of the day: "I didn't feel like I violated any rules. I didn't feel like I hit it twice ... but under high-def and super slo-mo, you can see it. I made contact twice. They can explain [the outcome] to you. There is no violation, I guess. I shot what I shot today."
Here's a closer look.
Stat of the day: This is not the first time Tiger has struggled with the final hole at Albany.
Where he stands: Woods is near the bottom of the 18-golfer field, almost double digit shots back of the lead. There's not a ton of ground to make up because of how few players there are in the event this week, but Tiger will need something special -- think 64-64 -- on Saturday and Sunday to have a chance.
What's next: Woods will go early again on Saturday after his gaffe at the last, and there's a decent chance that he'll again be paired with Matsuyama, who also finished at 2 under after his round on Friday.
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