How it Happened: Tiger still commands WGC
After a second-round 61, Tiger Woods built a seven-shot lead at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio. The 9-under 61 equaled Woods' best round on Tour and tied the course record he set at Firestone Country Club in 2000.
Jason Dufner has made a move, starting the day with four straight birdies, while Henrik Stenson found second place. Players are in threesomes from split tees today.
We'll follow all the action Saturday in Akron as Woods works toward his eighth Bridgestone title – and scroll down for our previous coverage.
PHOTOS: Tiger Woods at WGC-Bridgestone
Tiger Woods' second-round 61 tied the course record at Firestone CC in Akron, Ohio, as he tries for his eighth win in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. See his week in pictures.
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Hole No. 18: Par 4, 464 yards
Off the tee: Missing right again, Tiger Woods hits it into the rough with some trees probably in play for his second shot.
On the approach: Yet to birdie the 18th this week, Tiger hasn't exactly put himself in position to start now. A punch-and-run under the trees comes up short of the green.
Around the green: Tiger pitches to inside 5 feet, then makes the par putt to end the day.
Tiger for the day: Two-under 68; leader by seven.
Elsewhere on the course: Henrik Stenson gets up and down from the right greenside rough for a 67 that sends him to the clubhouse alone in second at 8 under. Chris Wood misses the 18th fairway well left and puts his string of 13 straight pars in jeopardy; his approach comes up short of the front-left greenside bunkers; he pitches to about 15 feet and two-putts for bogey for a 70 that puts him T-4 at 6 under alongside Luke Donald and Bill Haas.
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Hole No. 17: Par 4, 400 yards
Off the tee: Tiger Woods takes his 3-iron here and finds the middle of the fairway to perhaps steady his tee game somewhat.
From the fairway: Earning a birdie opportunity, Tiger hits his approach inside 20 feet.
On the green: Plink. Tiger makes his birdie putt to erase one of the two bogeys in his last three holes.
Tiger for the day: Two under with one to play; leader by seven at 15 under.
Elsewhere on the course: Jason Dufner, after finding the left rough off the 18th tee, hits a decent recovery shot that ends up in the front-right greenside rough. He chips from there to inside 5 feet for a good look at par. He misses the putt and cards a 67, T-3 at 7 under.
Henrik Stenson birdies No. 17 to move into second at 8 under, six shots back of Woods.
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Hole No. 16: Par 5, 667 yards
Off the tee: Tiger Woods is wide right again, at first clearing a fairway bunker but not by enough to avoid bouncing back into it.
On the approach: Needing to clear another steep bunker face, Tiger hits it into the right rough as he did a couple of holes ago; it'll be a challenge to reach the green in three. With about 290 yards to the green, Tiger lays up to the middle of the fairway and will have a wedge in; from there he finds the green but his par putt is no sure thing, leaving himself about 20 feet.
On the green: Tiger misses his par putt, though not by much, and taps in for bogey.
Tiger for the day: One under with two to play; leader by six.
Elsewhere on the course: Jason Dufner has made four straight pars to hold steady in second on his own at 8 under through 17 holes. Henrik Stenson moves to T-3 at 7 under with a birdie at No. 15; Chris Wood also is 7 under with 11 straight pars.
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Hole No. 15: Par 3, 221 yards
Off the tee: Having parred this hole twice this week, Tiger comes up just short of the green and will have a simple chip to get up and down for par. (Or can he hole out again?)
Around the green: Tiger indeed makes a run at the cup, his chip just missing low and right; he taps in for a par, upset by the miss.
Tiger for the day: 15 under through 15; leader by seven.
Elsewhere on the course: Zach Johnson finishes birdie-par for a 68 that takes him to the clubhouse T-10 at 3 under.
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Hole No. 14: Par 4, 467 yards
Off the tee: So much for solving his tee-ball trouble of early in the round: Tiger Woods misses left and finds a fairway bunker with a high face to clear.
On the approach: Tiger's second shot misses the green short and finds the right rough – near the base of a tree. From there he shanks it into the gallery behind the green and right.
Around the green: Tiger's fourth shot comes to rest about 2 feet from the pin and he finds the side door for bogey.
Tiger for the day: 15 under through 14; leader by seven.
Elsewhere on the course: Jason Dufner scrambles for par at the 15th, thanks to a wedge to about a foot and a tap-in. Back-to-back bogeys at the end of Rory McIlroy's round give him a 69 and he heads to the clubhouse T-18 at even par.
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Hole No. 13: Par 4, 471 yards
Off the tee: Tiger Woods finds the middle of the fairway off the tee, perhaps putting his early accuracy problems behind him.
From the fairway: Missing long and left, Tiger gives himself a challenge here to a left-side hole location.
Around the green: Short-sided? Not for long. From a steep upslope in the rough and with little green to work with, Tiger holes out. Boom. Fist pump.
Tiger for the day: Three under through 13; leader by eight at 16 under.
Elsewhere on the course: Jason Dufner hits it pin high but about 20 feet right at No. 13, then proceeds to make his putt for birdie and climb to 8 under, again seven shots back of Woods and alone in second.
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Hole No. 12: Par 3, 180 yards
Off the tee: Finding the green again, Tiger Woods has a long birdie putt as his shot flies long and left.
On the green: From about 25 feet, Tiger quickly dislikes his birdie putt and it stops about 3 feet short. He marks, then makes.
Tiger for the day: Two under through 12; leader by seven.
Elsewhere on the course: Chris Wood nearly birdies No. 12, his putt from about 10 feet lipping out nearly 360 degrees and almost coming back toward him. Adam Scott bogeys No. 18 for a 66 that lifts him to T-9 at 3 under as he heads to the clubhouse.
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Hole No. 11: Par 4, 418 yards
Off the tee: Another fairway hit for Tiger Woods, favoring the right side.
From the fairway: Taking aim at the back flag, Tiger hits it a bit long but finds the green and has a shot at another birdie. He bogeyed this hole Thursday but made his second of four straight birdies here yesterday during his 61.
On the green: Tiger rolls it hole-high but wide right and taps in for par.
Tiger for the day: Two under through 11; leader by seven at 15 under.
Elsewhere on the course: Jason Dufner gives back his birdie with a three-putt bogey at No. 12 and returns to T-2 at 7 under. On his last hole of the day, Phil Mickelson misses the No. 9 green long and left, then consults with a rules official before pitching to inside 10 feet. He makes the putt for par to end his day with a 67 that gets him to even par going into the final round. Chris Wood, playing in the final group alongside Woods, has made seven straight pars and is T-2 with Dufner at 7 under.
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Hole No. 10: Par 4, 410 yards
Off the tee: Going to his fairway wood, Tiger hits it right down the middle with a draw. Textbook tee shot.
From the fairway: Tiger takes aim at the pin and capitalizes – he lands it about 5 feet or so away; the ball checks and kicks away a bit, but he'll have a birdie try from about 10 feet or so.
On the green: Breaking left to right, Tiger's birdie putt falls and erases his bogey before the turn.
Tiger for the day: Two under through 10; leader by seven at 15 under.
Elsewhere on the course: Jason Dufner birdies No. 11 with a putt of about 25 feet or so; that lifts him into second alone and keeps him on pace with Woods. Rickie Fowler gets back to even for the round with a 20-footer for birdie at No. 12; he's 2 under for the tournament, T-14.
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Hole No. 9: Par 4, 494 yards
Off the tee: Having missed left with his tee ball several times early today, Tiger Woods misses right for the second time in a row and finds a fairway bunker about 200 yards from the green.
On the approach: With a good lie but a high lip to clear, Tiger lays up well short of the green. From the fairway, he wedges to inside 10 feet for a solid chance at saving par.
On the green: Left to scramble once again and looking to extend a streak of 37 bogey-free holes, Tiger misses long and left here; he taps in his comebacker for bogey.
Tiger for the day: One under at the turn; leader by seven at 14 under.
Elsewhere on the course: Phil Mickelson erases a bogey at No. 5 with a birdie at No. 7, getting back to even par for the tournament with two holes left in his round.
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Hole No. 8: Par 3, 219 yards
Off the tee: Wide right, Tiger Woods misses the fairway and will hit from near the gallery.
On the approach: With trees overhanging near his line, Tiger hits to the throat in front of the green for the second time today to give himself a good chance to get up and down for par.
Around the green: Tiger nearly holes out from in front of the green, the ball slowly rolling past the edge of the cup and coming to rest about a foot behind it; he taps in.
Tiger for the day: Two under through eight holes; leader by eight at 15 under.
Elsewhere on the course: Bubba Watson moves to T-2 at 7 under with his fourth birdie of the day coming at No. 8; he also has a bogey today. Adam Scott makes his fifth birdie during a bogey-free day to climb to T-9 at 4 under for the tournament.
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Hole No. 7: Par 3, 219 yards
Off the tee: Backing off his tee shot at first, Tiger goes for the right-side pin but ends up in the bunker that guards it. He's short-sided here.
Around the green: From the sand, Tiger lofts it to about 3 feet for a par chance; the putt is dead center to convert the sand save.
Tiger for the day: Two under through seven holes; leader by eight.
Elsewhere on the course: Rory McIlroy birdies No. 12 and follows with a par to stand 3 under for the day, T-14 and 2 under for the tournament. Phil Mickelson adds his sixth straight par at No. 4 to remain even for the tourney.
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Hole No. 6: Par 4, 469 yards
Off the tee: Favoring the left side again, Tiger finds the fairway without incident.
From the fairway: Over the top of the pin, Tiger finds the back of the green to give himself another birdie opportunity and a chance to break his string of three pars.
On the green: No scrambling needed here. From about 15 feet, slightly downhill, Tiger again rolls it to less than a foot and taps in for par.
Tiger for the day: Two under through six holes; leader by eight.
Elsewhere on the course: Jason Dufner cards his first par of the day at No. 7 after five birdies and a double bogey.
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Hole No. 5: Par 3, 211 yards
Off the tee: Finding the left side of the green, Tiger Woods hits it just a bit short and will have a moderate-length birdie attempt.
On the green: Tiger makes a run at it, but the putt is nothing more than an excellent lag when it stops inside a foot short; he taps in for par.
Tiger for the day: Two under through five holes; leader by eight.
Elsewhere on the course: Phil Mickelson has made five straight pars since a birdie at No. 16 got him to even for the tournament.
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Hole No. 4: Par 4, 471 yards
Off the tee: Tiger Woods misses left, his ball going past the tree line to leave him a challenge on the approach for this long par 4.
On the approach: Pitching short, Tiger finds the fairway at the throat in front of the green. From there, he spins a wedge to inside 5 feet of the hole.
On the green: Again, Tiger makes a clutch par putt to erase a mistake on the hole and scramble successfully.
Tiger for the day: Two under through four holes; leader by eight.
Elsewhere on the course: Jason Dufner gives back half his birdies with a double-bogey at the par-3 fifth hole, dropping to 6 under and T-5. He naturally follows with his fifth birdie of the day and gains a shot again.
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Hole No. 3: Par 4, 442 yards
Off the tee: Fairway again for Tiger Woods, leaving him a short iron into the green.
From the fairway: Tiger finds the green, but faces a birdie attempt almost as long as his eagle try a hole earlier.
On the green: Tiger knocks it well past the hole and faces a 7-8 footer to save par; that one finds the side door and falls in.
Tiger for the day: Two under through three holes; leader by seven.
Elsewhere on the course: Jason Dufner birdies his third in a row to start the round, moving to 7 under and T-3 alongside Chris Wood. Dufner then birdies his fourth in a row to climb to 8 under, Wood birdies as well to keep pace and the two take over second as Keegan Bradley bogeys the third to fall to 7 under, alone in fourth.
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Hole No. 2: Par 5, 526 yards
Off the tee: Tiger finds the fairway once more, favoring the left side again.
From the fairway: On in two, Tiger gives himself a long try for eagle in the early going.
On the green: From about 40 feet or so, Tiger lags inside 5 feet and makes the comebacker for birdie.
Tiger for the day: Two under through two holes; leader by seven.
Elsewhere on the course: Jason Dufner birdies again, his second in as many holes today, to move to T-2 at 6 under alongside four other golfers: Keegan Bradley, Bill Haas, Henrik Stenson and Chris Wood. Phil Mickelson pars Nos. 17-18 as he makes the turn at even par for the tournament. Bubba Watson birdies No. 2 to get to T-7 at 5 under.
Bradley then answers Dufner with an eagle at No. 2 to move to 8 under.
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Hole No. 1: Par 4, 399 yards
Off the tee: Tiger takes iron and finds the left side of the fairway, no problem.
From the fairway: Tiger finds the front of the green, maybe 10-12 feet past and right of the pin.
On the green: Here we go again. Tiger maybe hits it a tad slow, but the ball falls in the front lip for his first birdie of the weekend.
Tiger for the day: One under through one hole; 14 under and leading by eight.
Elsewhere on the course: Zach Johnson, who's been hot lately, opens with two birdies and follows with a par to climb to T-10 at 3 under.
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Update No. 6: 1:10 p.m. EDT
With leader Tiger Woods about to tee off, Jason Dufner opens with a birdie at No. 1 to move to T-4 and 5 under. Dufner, an Auburn product, finished fourth at the U.S. Open at Merion.
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Update No. 5: 1:04 p.m. EDT
Phil Mickelson gets to 3 under for the round with a birdie at No. 16 that lifts him to even par for the tournament. Mickelson had opened with rounds of 72-71.
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Update No. 4: 12:46 p.m. EDT
Adam Scott moves to 3 under for the day with a birdie at No. 4 and follows with a par; he's T-11 at 2 under with less than half an hour until leader Tiger Woods tees off.
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Update No. 3: 12:33 p.m. EDT
Phil Mickelson's second birdie of the day comes at No. 14, moving him to T-29 at 1 over. Ernie Els moved the other way with a double bogey at No. 13 pushing him to 4 over.
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Update No. 2: 12:26 p.m. EDT
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano joins Adam Scott and Brandt Snedeker at 2 under for the day, with birdies at Nos. 11-12 pushing the Spaniard to T-33 at 2 over.
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Update No. 1: 12:03 p.m. EDT
Reigning Masters champion Adam Scott birdies his first two holes to move to T-16 at 1 under. Scott shot 68 Friday on the heels of an opening 73.
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Brandt Snedeker eagles No. 2 to move to even par. Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els start their rounds with birdies at No. 10 as each moves to 2 over.
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Lee Westwood opens with a bogey, while Graeme McDowell opens with a double bogey and follows with a birdie to cut the damage in half.
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Temperatures are in the mid-70s as play is set to get started and the afternoon forecast does not have rain as likely as had been feared, according to accuweather.com
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Tiger Woods was at his vintage best Friday – a stern-faced, steel-eyed, laser-shooting, flawless-putting machine who appeared to be on a mission. That mission ended in a second-round 61 and a seven-shot lead at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
On a day when the second round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational produced one number that mattered above all, 61 – as in the score that put this tournament firmly in Tiger Woods’ grasp – let us focus on another number. Five. As in 5 Things of note from Friday at Firestone Country Club.
Tiger Woods flirted with 59 during the second round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational before tying his course record with a 9-under 61 at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.
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While Phil Mickelson and Brandt Snedeker struggled after recent victories, and Rory McIlroy played to level par, Webb Simpson made eight birdies in his Bridgestone debut to take the first-round lead at Firestone.
After a few years of turbulence, Henrik Stenson is letting the good times roll.
Tiger Woods opened the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational with a 4-under 66 Thursday at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. But it was Webb Simpson who grabbed hold of the first-round lead following a 6-under 64.
Tiger Woods opened the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational with a 4-under 66 Thursday.
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Ben Hogan used to say that the driver, not the putter, is the most important club in the bag because it sets everything up. Decades later, the Hawk apparently gets no argument from slumping Rory McIlroy.
Tiger Woods has won seven times on Tour at Firestone Country Club. So it's no wonder the annual stop in Akron, Ohio, is one Woods looks forward to.
Brandt Snedeker will have a busy schedule between now and the end of the FedEx Cup playoffs. He'll look to capture his first major championship and defend his FedEx Cup crown during that stretch, too.
As a seven-time champ at the WGC-Bridgestone, Tiger Wood is a no-brainer pick this week. But a couple of our panelists are also tossing out some love for Adam Scott and Steve Stricker.