Tiger Woods closes out second-round 66 at PGA, sits 6 back

Aug 11, 2018; Saint Louis, MO, USA; Tiger Woods hits out of the rough on the 17th hole during the continuation of the second round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Bellerive Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Tiger Woods closes out second-round 66 at PGA, sits 6 back

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Tiger Woods closes out second-round 66 at PGA, sits 6 back

Tiger Woods’ quest to win a major in 2018 is not over, but he’ll need a big final 36 holes to get No. 15.

Woods completed a long second round of the PGA Championship Saturday morning, firing a 4-under 66 to keep himself in the hunt at Bellerive.

That’s a strong score, but it was also in easy conditions in a Round 2 that saw multiple 63s. Woods’ 4-under total has him six off Gary Woodland’s lead entering the final two rounds.

Still, it’s a far cry from where he could’ve been. After all, Woods began this tournament bogey-double bogey. He fought back from that and then was rolling early in his second round Friday when dangerous weather halted play for the day and forced him to complete the majority of his second round Saturday morning.

Even with those hurdles, Woods has a chance halfway through – with the help of a nice second round.

He came out firing Friday afternoon, rolling in a 14-footer for birdie at the par-4 second to move into red figures for the first time all tournament.

He quickly pounced on that. A pitching wedge at the simple par-3 third spun 5 feet under the cup, and he rolled that in for back-to-back birdies. Woods came inches from chipping in for birdie at the next but got that third birdie anyway when he rolled in a 10-footer at the par-4 fifth.

Woods was 3 under, off and rolling, and in line for potentially a really low round.

The signs continued at the par-3 sixth when Woods hit into a greenside bunker, blasted out 15 feet short but then curled in the putt for a huge par.

It was just the par that Woods has long craved as a momentum-saver in keeping together strong rounds.

He followed by hitting the hole with his birdie chip at the par-4 seventh (settling for par) and leaving himself a short wedge third at the par-5 eighth. But that’s when the horn sounded, suspending play.

While that horn came in the middle of the afternoon, it would turn out Woods would have to wait until Saturday morning to hit that wedge – as play would eventually be suspended for the day.

Woods was not put off by the long wait.

He arrived back Saturday morning, spun that wedge to 6 feet and drained the putt to move to 4 under right away early in the day. Woods was in the top 20 and at that point 7 under in his 24 holes since an abysmal 3-over start.

The remainder of Saturday morning, though, turned out to be a slog.

A hot putter Friday seemed to cool off in the morning, first showing so when Woods missed the hole completely on a 5-foot par effort at the par-4 10th.

He rebounded from that bogey by spinning an 89-yard wedge to 2 feet at the par-4 11th and making birdie. But he left himself over 100 feet for birdie at the par-4 12th, and a nice lag to 5 feet did not do the trick.

Woods once again missed the hole on the shortie, meaning another bogey and moving back to 3 under again.

His next four holes were simply grinds for pars, as he hit all the greens but left himself no really good birdie looks. He did make four pars to hang on.

Woods then took advantage of the par-5 17th, roping a fairway wood onto the green in two and leaving himself some 30 feet for eagle. He lagged beautifully and had a kick-in birdie to return to 4 under.

An errant tee shot at 18 put him in trouble, but he got his approach onto the green and then two-putted from almost 90 feet (sinking a 5-foot comebacker) for a closing par.

After fighting his swing Thursday, Woods looked so much more comfortable the following day. He looked downright pristine on approaches and his putter continued to be hot in staking him to an early birdie run.

When play resumed Saturday, his ball-striking was still solid but not as crisp and his putter cooled off a good deal.

All along, Woods has failed to fix his driver woes but he did seem to start to find something late in Round 2 Saturday morning with a lower cut with the big stick off the tee.

That could be huge over the final 36 holes if he can employ it.

We’ll see. Woods is still in this, but he needs to make something happen Saturday afternoon.

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