Tiger Woods enhanced his chances of ending a two-year title drought after matching his lowest round of the year on day two of the Quicken Loans National.
The tournament host, who was three over after four holes in his opening round before battling back to card a 68, again recovered from a slow start to card an encouraging five-under 66 at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainsville.
Woods bogeyed the 14th – his fifth hole of the round – after shanking his drive into thick rough just 161 yards from the tee, but he recovered with a superb approach to two feet at the next to set up his first birdie of the day.
He converted another excellent iron for birdie at 18, and he began the front nine with three birdies in five holes before rolling in a 35-foot putt for another at the eighth to reach eight under par at the halfway stage.
“It got me going a little bit,” Woods said of his tee shot at the 14th. “(It) kind of got me kick-started a little bit, got me a little fired up. Got me a little more focused on what I’m doing out there instead of just hitting a shot.”
Woods’ 134 aggregate is his lowest opening 36-hole total since the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, which remains his last victory worldwide, and he needs to win his own tournament to qualify for Firestone next week.
No quick fix
“I have been through this before,” he added. “You make changes to the game, it takes a little time sometimes and you have to be patient with it. I know what I’m doing out there. It’s just a matter of time before things start to click in and get more jelled. That takes time. That’s not going to happen overnight.
“People want the immediate fix, the one tip that’s going to work for the rest of their life. It doesn’t work that way. It takes time to build it.
“I feel like I can still compete and win. A year-and-a-half ago, I won five times. I think that’s a pretty good number. It’s not that long ago that I was Player of the Year. I know my ranking is awful, but eventually I’ll climb back.
“I’m in a good spot here, and I’m looking forward to the weekend. I’m looking forward to getting after it.”
“That bomb on eight, that was a bit lucky but I’ll take it. If I had not seen Nick Watney’s putt first I probably would not have played that much break. His putt snapped at the end and I gave it some extra, another foot and a half, and it went in.