Tiger Woods lurking after missed opportunity in Round 2 of BMW

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Tiger Woods lurking after missed opportunity in Round 2 of BMW

PGA Tour

Tiger Woods lurking after missed opportunity in Round 2 of BMW

NEWTON SQUARE, Pa. – Tiger Woods is one of few players on Tour who will go with the old-school metal spikes in wet conditions, and it makes it easier to hear him coming.

Clack, clack, clack.

His shoes crunched along the concrete pathway to the first tee Friday morning, where a healthy crowd cheered loudly as he emerged from under the bleacher area and onto the scene. The overnight leader shot 62 in the first round and everyone wanted to see what was coming next.

Maybe the masses were a little hungover from the Eagles’ season-opening win over the Falcons Thursday night, but they hardly matched the volume from that opening tee shot for the rest of the morning.

Woods also failed to carry any momentum from his opening round, and he finished with consecutive bogeys to shoot even-par 70 and fall five shots behind leader Xander Schauffele at 8 under par.

“I hit it just as good and putted it just as good. Nothing went in,” Woods said. “That’s the way it goes.”

Woods got an early start at 8:06 am., at which point it was still and quiet and small noises carried throughout the course. People coughing. Beers being opened.

Compliments from players and caddies on the tee.

“Beauty.”

“Perfect.”

“Shot, Tiger.”

All of those things were said in response to Woods drives, and at this point it’s hard to understate his drastic turnaround in that department. He hit 11 of 14 fairways and pulled driver nine times.

There were a lot of back pins and his wedge game wasn’t as sharp, but he found the green often enough and hit 14 of them.

Putting was the story again, and even though a lot of them were close misses he still finished dead last in the field in strokes grained putting in Round 2.

“That round was easily 6, 7 under par,” Woods said. “It turned into even par, which is not what I needed to do today. Everyone is going low and birdies should be had.”

Playing partner Rickie Fowler, who has been out of action since the PGA Championship, surpassed him on the leaderboard down the stretch and sits T-3 at 10 under. Woods and Fowler spent a lot of time talking the first two rounds and were often in similar places off the tee. Jordan Spieth rounded out the trio and largely fell out of the discussion after another disappointing round, a 1-over 71. He was clearly frustrated Friday and Fowler and Woods let him do his own thing for most of the back nine.

Woods looked like he was ready to go on a run after the par-5 ninth, where he hit his third shot to two feet for a tap-in birdie. He added another highlight approach at 11 and again tapped in for birdie from two feet. But a missed 12-footer at 12 began a streak of four straight pars as he idled to the finish line.

“I hit a lot of beautiful putts that were on top of the edge,” Woods said. “Obviously hit a couple bad ones on the last hole. Looked like all the putts were going to go in, but they didn’t go in today.”

That’s been a pattern for Woods lately, as has a lack of bogeys. He’s only made 16 of them over his last 10 rounds, compared to 14 over four rounds at Firestone and 15 at the Masters.

That’s mostly because he’s hitting it long and straight off the tee again. It’s a big sign of progress, but avoiding bogeys isn’t going to get it done most weeks on Tour. That’s true at the BMW Championship and Woods knows it.

He’s still very much alive going into his 12:40 p.m. tee time Saturday with Ryan Armour. Dropping a 20-foot birdie putt on his first hole Thursday seemed to spark that 62, so maybe it’s as simple as making something early in the round.

If Woods keeps this up he’ll definitely be at East Lake for the Tour Championship, with one more week to try to grab a win before the season ends. But it’s there for the taking right now in Philadelphia. He’s lurking, a familiar position this season, and we’ve seen him move into contention from there numerous times.

Friday was just a deflating day because he had a good chance to take a lead into the weekend for the first time all year and fell short.

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