Tiger Woods fades late for 70, but remains in contention at BMW Championship

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Tiger Woods fades late for 70, but remains in contention at BMW Championship

PGA Tour

Tiger Woods fades late for 70, but remains in contention at BMW Championship

Tiger Woods didn’t have the magic of Thursday, but he’s still right in the thick of it even with a poor finish.

With tee times moved up (due to impending bad weather) and players in cooler conditions, it was a different day Friday at Aronimink. And it was a different Woods, as the 42-year-old did not have the ease he showed in his opening 8-under 62.

Woods closed bogey-bogey for an even-par 70 in the second round at the BMW Championship, getting in at 8 under overall. After beginning the day tied for the lead, Woods fell to a tie for 10th five behind leader Xander Schauffele.

Woods began the round slowly and appeared he might slip back after his strong opening Thursday. He ran his first birdie putt 6 feet past but then made the comebacker for an opening par.

Still, it started him on an early ho-hum par string while Schauffele put on a barrage of birdies to move ahead. The disappointing start was punctuated at the par-3 fifth.

At the simple downhill 130-yard hole, Woods plopped a sand wedge tee shot into a bunker, blasted 4 feet past and lipped out the par putt. The sloppy bogey on a birdie hole seemed to be the low point, as Woods fell 1 over for the round and 7 under overall.

He would drift as far as five off the lead early.

But he fought back. Woods couldn’t get a pair of decent birdie looks to drop at Nos. 6 and 7, but he fashioned a beautiful pitch to 2 feet at the par-5 ninth and tapped in for birdie to move back to 8 under and go out in even-par 35.

Two holes later, Woods spun a wedge from 95 yards to 2 feet for his second tap-in birdie in three holes. And like that, he was back in a tie for second, 9 under and two back.

Woods would leave himself 14 feet for birdie at the par-4 12th to reach 10 under, but his putt agonizingly trickled over the right edge. Three holes later, he made a fantastic par save as he knocked an 80-yard wedge third at the par-4 15th inches beyond the cup.

After his drive at the par-5 16th ended up in a divot in the fairway, Woods hit a spectacular 5-wood that saw the ball finish some 30 or so feet below the cup. He would two-putt for birdie to move to 10 under and back into a tie for second.

Then, the finish.

Woods hit his tee shot at the par-3 17th in a bunker, blasted out to 8 feet, and his par effort horseshoed out. A poor approach at the par-4 18th left Woods in a tough spot on the green, and he three-putted for a bogey-bogey finish.

It was a tough conclusion after having battled so hard to get his round on track. But not all is lost, far from it in fact.

In a nice theme, Woods’ driving continued to be a plus. He found 11/14 fairways on the round and his driver generally behaved.

The conditions were more difficult in general on Friday, but Woods definitely saw a regression in approach play. He managed to hit 14 of 18 greens in regulation, but Woods had a more difficult time getting approaches close to the hole than he did Thursday.

But the Scotty Cameron was the biggest culprit in Friday’s change. Woods left himself a lot of longer putts, but when he did have his chances, he failed to drop anything. Woods also missed par putts of 4, 6 and 8 feet.

His work around the greens was beautiful, but his cold putter failed him on a couple of up and downs.

It wasn’t a banner Friday for Woods, and he definitely squandered his opening 62 to a degree. But he still has 36 holes to make it up.

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