GREENSBORO, N.C. – There were two fist pumps, plenty of club twirls and even an eagle.
When his second round was over, Tiger Woods found himself in a place he hasn’t been in more than two years – on top of the leaderboard.
Woods followed up his opening 64 with a 5-under 65, and he’s tied for the lead with 26-year-old rookie Tom Hoge heading into the weekend at the Wyndham Championship.
After an up-and-down, 1-under 34 on the front nine, Woods ignited his round by slamming home a 25-foot putt on No. 13 for his second straight birdie. Then he blew the roof off Sedgefield C.C. and gave a fist pump on the par-5 15th when his eagle putt from 10 feet found the bottom of the cup.
Woods hasn’t been in the lead since his last win at the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
“It was a grind today,” Woods said. “I didn’t quite hit it as good as I did yesterday. And I kept leaving myself above the hole. It seemed like every putt was above the hole. I couldn’t quite get my iron game where I was underneath the holes where I could get some nice, firm looks. But hung in there with my speed, and ended up OK.”
Thousands of fans showed up Friday at Sedgefield C.C. hoping to see the 14-time major champion build on his opening 64 and put on a show.
He didn’t disappoint.
Woods started with a whimper, three-putting the opening hole from 23 feet for bogey. But unlike other rounds this season, Woods didn’t compound a mistake with another one. He birdied the par-3 third to get back to even on the day. He failed to get up and down on the par-3 seventh, but answered right back with a 6-foot birdie putt on No. 8.
Woods also knocked in tricky par putts on Nos. 10 and 17. After his round on Thursday, Woods said those knee-knockers can give him more momentum than birdies.
It showed as Woods birdied Nos. 11 and 12, and then things got real with his eagle on 15.
But it’s once again not time to hand Woods the trophy yet. He was three back heading into Round 3 at the Quicken Loans National, shot 74 and was never a factor on Sunday. He hasn’t even recorded a top-10 since the 2013 Barclays. Woods, now No. 286 in the world rankings, is in Greensboro only as a last desperate attempt to get into next week’s FedEx Cup Playoffs. He needs a win, or possibly a solo second, to make it to the Barclays.
“I just got to take it a day at a time,” Woods said. “I want to win this tournament. I came here to win it, and right now I’m in good shape.”