THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Raise your hand if you’ve ever had difficulties bringing a brilliant practice range session to the course.
If Tiger Woods is reading this, he’s got a hand in the air right now. After being immensely pleased with his Wednesday night practice range session, Woods failed to remain dialed in Thursday in the opening round of the World Challenge. So he went back to the range and dug it out of the dirt once again that night and on Friday the extra effort finally started to pay off on the course.
Woods followed an opening-round 70 with a 3-under 69 to move into sole possession of fifth place at the World Challenge, four strokes behind leader Graeme McDowell.
“The work I did last night was some of the best I've hit the golf ball all year,” he said after a round that included five birdies. “That was a lot of fun. I just had to come out here and trust it and when I did I got into a nice little run there. I just need to do that all 36 holes on the weekend.”
For the day, Woods hit 14 of 18 greens in regulation – and those he missed often didn’t miss by much. His distance control ranged from very good to impeccable, which led to those red numbers.
“I hit some nice iron shots in there,” Woods said. “I just got on a nice little groove hitting irons, and stuffed it at 9, stuffed it at 10, stuffed it at 11, stuffed it at 1 … I hit a lot of good shots starting out today. Didn't really convert anything. Then all of a sudden I got on a roll.”
Woods will need to stay on a roll this weekend in order to successfully defend last year’s title. He will tee off at 1:36 p.m. ET on Saturday alongside Rickie Fowler.