Tiger Woods shot a two-under 68 and sits at seven under for the week. He's tied for the lead at the Tour Championship with new world No. 1 Justin Rose. 

By Daniel Rapaport
September 21, 2018

For the first time since the 2015 Wynham Championship, Tiger Woods holds a share of the lead after the second round of a PGA Tour event. 

Woods followed up his opening-round 65 with a 68 on Friday at East Lake, and his seven-under total is good enough to share the Tour Championship lead with new world No. 1 Justin Rose. Another former world No. 1, Rory McIlroy, is two shots back in third. 

Woods is in great position to contend for his 80th PGA Tour victory, though Rose's strong play means Woods would need some help if he is to win his third FedEx Cup. Rose entered this week in second place in the FedEx Cup standings and is in pole position to claim the $10 million grand prize for winning the season-long points race. Woods entered in 20th place. 

After putting on a ball striking clinic on Thursday, Woods wasn't as precise on Friday, hitting just seven of 14 fairways and not having a makeable birdie effort from the 4th through 11th holes. He turned in even-par 35 after a three-putt bogey at the 9th.

"I didn't hit it very well today," Woods told assembled reporters after the round. 

"Stuck with it. Kept myself in the tournament."

Indeed, in no small part due to a putter that heated up on the back nine for the second straight day. Woods has the Scotty Cameron Newport 2 model in the bag for the second straight week—the putter he used to win 13 of his 14 major championships—after experimenting with two Taylormade putters this summer. He made back-to-back birdies on 14 and 15 with putts of 17 and 23 feet, respectively, the latter of which produced the type of roar only he can. 


At that point, Woods had a two-shot lead over Rose, but that would turn out to be short-lived. He pulled his tee shot on the 16th then attempted a difficult shot from the rough, winding up plugged in a bunker 40 yards short of the green. He would need four shots from there for a double-bogey 6 that stopped his momentum in its tracks.

To his credit, he followed that disappointment with two solid holes, barely missing a birdie putt on 17 and two-putting for birdie after reaching the par-5 18th in two.

Woods, who has spent a record 683 weeks perched atop the Official World Golf Rankings, and Rose, who is in his second week at No. 1, will play together in Saturday's final pairing. 

Below is a hole-by-hole recap of Friday's round. 

Hole 18, par 5 - Birdie, -2 for day, -6 for tournament

Tiger crushed his drive down the center of the fairway, allowing him to go for this par 5 in two with an iron in his hand. He hit a draw that crawled onto the front edge of the green and gave his eagle effort a good ride. It slid by on the left side but stopped within three feet, and Tiger had no issues brushing that one in. 

That's a closing birdie to tie Justin Rose at seven under, and Woods will enter the third round of a PGA Tour event with a share of the lead for the first time since 2015.

Hole 17, par 4 - Par, -1 for day, -5 for tournament

A really solid par, but he would have loved to get one back after that disappointing double on 16. 

Tiger went with 3-wood off the tee and ripped one right down the center. That left a wedge approach from 140 yards that he judged perfectly for distance, finishing 12 feet from the hole. He thought the downhill birdie effort would break right but it didn't ever really have a chance. Stress-free par. 

Now to the par-5 18th and one final birdie opportunity. Reminder that he eagled 18 yesterday for 65. 

Hole 16, par 4 - Double-bogey, -1 for day, -6 for tournament

Surely he was pumped up after a massive roar on the 15th green. Whatever it was, Tiger hit a pretty significant pull with the driver and it clipped a tree way left of the fairway. He attempted to hit his approach over a tree and carry onto the green from 190 yards, and he managed to get it over the tree but nowhere near the green. It was unlucky to plug in the face of a bunker roughly 40 yards from the green, forcing him to play out sideways. He played a nice spinning pitch from there to 14 feet but could not convert the bogey effort. 

His first double of the week drops him back to six under, though he's still tied for the lead with Justin Rose. 

Hole 15, par 3 - Birdie, -3 for day, -8 for tournament

Ooooooh this is getting interesting now! Tiger went with 7-iron from 209, banking on it playing shorter with wind behind him. It was struck pure and carried onto the front of the green before rolling out to 25 feet, and the putt went in dead-center. That's his third birdie in four holes and he's not back into the solo lead, and perhaps more importantly, four shots clear of third place. 

Hole 14, par 4 - Birdie, -2 for day, -7 for tournament

A birdie on the longest par 4 on the course, which is playing 534 downhill yards today. Woods found the fairway with a driver and hit a beautiful approach from 220 yards to just 18 feet. He was above the hole and the birdie putt was a speedy one, but the speed was perfect and it died right in the center of the cup. Tiger was fist pumping while that ball was still a foot short of the hole. 

His second birdie in three holes ties Rose at seven under, and the two players are now three clear of the next closest competitor. 

Hole 13, par 4 - Par, -1 for day, -6 for tournament

Tiger found his second straight fairway—he's now 4/10 in that department—but misfired with his approach. With just a 9-iron in hand, he played a cut that moved too much and kicked into a bunker right of the green. That left a straightforward bunker shot, but he looked to have caught it a bit heavy and left himself eight feet for par. Right in the center with that one and Tiger maintains a share of the lead with Justin Rose. 

Hole 12, par 4 - Birdie, -1 for day, -6 for tournament

It's amazing, life in the fairway. Woods found the short stuff with his tee ball, allowing him to be aggressive from 127 yards to a back left pin. The swing was silky and the shot was perfect, dancing around the hole before finishing just four feet from it. Right in the middle with the birdie effort and Tiger is now six under. Couple that with Fowler's bogey and Tiger is now the solo leader once again. 

Hole 11, par 3 - Par, E for day, -5 for tournament

Tiger's in full grind mode. He missed the green on this par 3 with a six iron, landing about a foot right of the putting surface and rolling down to rough right and below the green. He drew a good lie and pitched to about three feet and sank the par effort. 

Tiger hasn't had a real birdie putt since 4, but he's not the only one struggling on a difficult East Lake layout. Fowler and Rahm have both made bogeys, meaning Tiger is only one behind Rickie Fowler's lead of six under. 

Hole 10, par 4 - Par, E for day, -5 for tournament

Another missed fairway, this time left with the 3-wood. He's out of sync with the longer clubs. This time the luck wasn't so good with the lie, as it nestled down in the not-so-long but very-dense bermuda rough. Tiger had to play a little punch draw that he pulled off nicely, but it ran through the green into yet another awkward lie. He judged the chip perfectly and hit one to tap-in range. 

Hole 9, par 3 - Bogey, E for day, -5 for tournament

Tiger misclubbed on this 235-yard beastly par 3. His tee shot was right on line to the center of the green but landed short of the putting surface and didn't kick forward. That left a 75-foot putt from the fringe, and it bounced pretty significantly right off the face. Still, the lag rolled out to just four feet, five inches...but he pulled the par putt and it didn't hit the hole. 

First bogey of the day and Tiger is a bit out of sorts, having not had a realistic birdie look since the 4th hole. He's two back of Fowler's lead. 

Hole 8, par 4 - Par, -1 for day, -6 for tournament

The 8th is one of the hardest fairways to hit, with water all along the left side and bunkers guarding the right side of the fairway. Somewhat predictably, Tiger bailed out way right—like, foul ball territory—and did well with his punch second, finding the front bunker. A solid effort from there and another hearted six-footer for par keeps him one back of playing partner Fowler. 

The ball striking certainly isn't as solid as it was yesterday, but he's managed to keep it bogey-free thus far. Still time for him to right the ball striking ship.

Hole 7, par 4 - Par, -1 for day, -6 for tournament

The ball striking has gone awry a bit, at least with the driver. Tiger tried to turn one over but left it right—looked like he got a little quick with the body and got his arms stuck behind him—into rough off the fairway. He managed to play his second to about 15 yards short of the green and managed to get up-and-down thanks to a nice five-footer for par. 

The putting looks very solid, as do the irons. As always, he just needs to find fairways to give himself chances to attack. Still, a good par save to keep the round blemish-free. 

Hole 6, par 5 - Par, -1 for day, -6 for tournament

A missed opportunity on one of just two par 5's at East Lake, especially after Tiger found the fairway with the driver. He went for the same cut 5-wood that he hit yesterday and just barely missed the green to the left with his second. However, with a back-left pin, it left a very difficult chip and Tiger opted to go with the full-swing flop. He pulled it off, but the ball still rolled out to about 10 feet past the hole. His birdie effort ran out of steam and missed on the low side. 

Have to take advantage of the par 5s. Still, he's just one back of Jon Rahm and Rickie Fowler with plenty of golf left to play today. 

Hole 5, par 4 - Par, -1 for day, -6 for tournament

First missed fairway of the day comes at 5, this one again to the left. He looks to be struggling a bit with a pull. Another good lie in the rough and he was able to hit a little punch to just short of the green, just under 25 feet from the cup. Another uphill birdie putt comes up a few rolls short and it's another stress-free par. 

That was an important par to make with the par-5 6th coming up next. Let's see if Woods can make another birdie, or perhaps better...

Hole 4, par 4 - Par, -1 for day, -6 for tournament

Tiger found the left side of the fairway for the third straight time and then attacked a back-left pin, firing a mid-iron to 10 feet. Again, he looks very comfortable shaping the irons both ways. The putt went begging, though, and he'd have to settle for a tap-in par. 

That would have been quite a good birdie on one of the more difficult holes on the course.

Hole 3, par 4 - Par, -1 for day, -6 for tournament

Tiger opted to lay up on the 391-yard par 4, going with iron off the tee. He tugged it into the left rough but drew a good lie that he thought would produce a jumper, so he went with sand wedge from 152 yards. It didn't jump, though, and his approach barely cleared the front bunker, finishing 43 feet from the hole. The uphill birdie putt finished about three and a half feet short and he brushed in the par effort without incident. A confident stroke. 

Hole 2, par 3 - Birdie, -1 for day, -6 for tournament

Tiger worked a big draw with a mid-iron from 185 yards to access a front-left pin. It flew right over the flag and trickled to 18 feet above the hole, but his birdie effort was true and dead-center. That moves him to one under for the day, six under for the tournament and puts him into the solo lead. 

Woods is comfortable moving the ball both ways and seems to have some confidence with the putter. 

Hole 1, par 4 - Par, E for day, -5 for tournament

The site of Tiger's lone bogey yesterday, which came via a three-putt, didn't strike again. Woods went with driver off the first tee and pulled it a touch. It was lucky not to fall into bunkers down the left side and stayed in the first cut. From there, he played a 7-iron to the middle of the green and hit a good lag putt from 40-ish feet to tap-in range. A solid start to the day. 


You May Like

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)