Tiger Woods fires bogey-free 66 to rocket into top 25 at TPC Boston

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Tiger Woods fires bogey-free 66 to rocket into top 25 at TPC Boston

PGA Tour

Tiger Woods fires bogey-free 66 to rocket into top 25 at TPC Boston

Tiger Woods took advantage of easier conditions in the second round of the Dell Technologies Championship and will have a chance heading into his final 36 holes.

On a pristine Saturday at TPC Boston, Woods fired a bogey-free 5-under 66 to jump 36 spots to a tie for 21st at 4 under. He will begin the final 36 holes seven off the lead.

While Woods will need a low Sunday to put himself in position heading into the final round, he’s at least within striking distance with a lot of golf to play.

It was more of the same at the start of Saturday, as Woods squandered a pair of early birdie opportunities with mediocre approach play and work around the greens. Woods hit a sloppy wedge to 18 feet at the par-4 first and a putrid eagle pitch at the par-5 second 19 feet short of the cup to lead to a disappointing par-par start.

But that changed quickly when Woods drained an 11-footer for birdie at the par-3 third. Then the near misses arrived. Woods lipped out birdie putts of 9 and 29 feet at the next two holes, as he struggled to build momentum.

Two holes later, he got that elusive second birdie when he chipped up to 4 feet at the par-5 seventh and knocked in the remainder to move to 1 under – the first time he was under par overall the whole tournament.

A nifty up and down at the par-3 eighth allowed Woods to go out in a bogey-free 2-under 34, and then he attacked at the par-4 10th when he hit a pitching wedge right over the flag and the ball spun back to 6 feet beyond the cup. He rolled the birdie putt right in.

The next few holes were a battle. He missed every green and left himself par putts of 12, 3 and 5 feet. He made all three to keep the bogey-free round going.

The streak of missed greens went to four at the par-4 14th, but he was on the fringe and 25 feet from the hole for birdie. He drained the lengthy effort for his fourth birdie of the day and to move him to 3 under overall.

After that building putt, Woods then put his approach at the par-4 15th 7 feet below the cup. He had a perfect opportunity for back-to-back birdies and to move 5 under for the round. But his putt dove right late, lipped out and left him with a difficult-to-swallow par.

Yet, he wasn’t deterred. Two holes later, Woods once again fashioned a pitching wedge to 7 feet and this time drained the birdie putt to indeed move 5 under for the round.

The day did end with a disappointing par at the easiest hole on the course – he lipped out a 9-footer for birdie – but of course there was a lot to like in this round.

The Tiger Woods Driving Show continued Saturday, as he found eight of his first nine fairways on the day and ended up going 12/14 for the round. That was still playing with plenty of drivers, and Woods has found 22/28 fairways over the first two days without being conservative off the tee.

The renaissance from last week has continued off the tee. And his turnaround in putting also remained Saturday.

Woods switched putters this week after his disastrous work on the greens at the Northern Trust, and that immediately paid dividends with a strong Friday in the putting department. It was little different Saturday, as Woods drained a 25-footer for birdie and two other putts outside 10 feet. He also had a few other well-struck putts lip out.

Woods did let a few opportunities go – specifically a lipped out 7-footer and a pair of lipped out 9-footers, all for birdies – but overall he made a number of key putts. Overall, he was 5-of-8 on the day in putts between 4 and 10 feet.

His approach play is what prevented a super low round. Woods was mediocre in that department Friday, and that carried over for much of Saturday. For most of the round, he squandered a number of great drives with so-so or poor approaches.

There was marked improvement late, though, as Woods hit approaches inside 7 feet at Nos. 10, 15 and 17.

His work around the greens also continued to disappoint a bit, but his putter prevented that from being a problem.

We’ll see if Woods can make a run this weekend.

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