Tiger Woods shot 2-under 68 Thursday at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. GolfChannel.com senior writer Jason Sobel tracked Tiger during his second round at Firestone on Friday:
1:26 p.m.: Tiger Woods finishes his round appropriately enough by playing the ninth hole much like he played many of them today. Drive into the fairway, approach shot pin-high, missed putt and tap-in par. That's a second-round 71, which leaves him at 1 under entering the weekend – seven shots off the current lead.
1:13 p.m.: Can lightning strike twice? Woods has already missed one short par putt today and just had another on the eighth hole. It wanted to stay out, but used all of the hole and eventually dropped in for par. Woods remains 1 over for the day, 1 under for the tourney with one hole to play.
1:01 p.m.: Say this much for Tiger: His "bouncebackability" remains as proficient as ever. He's had four above-par holes so far today and on three of those occasions he's followed by making birdie. That includes on No. 7, as he rolls in a 15-footer to get back into red numbers for the tournament.
12:52 p.m.: The way Tiger just went back and forth around the sixth green, it was like watching a tennis match. His approach hit the green, but bounded into the left bunker. His pitch went past the hole and off the green. His long putt went five feet past. And his bogey attempt missed, too.
All in all, a dreadful short game display, which leads to the first double-bogey of his week. He's now 2 over for the day and even for the tournament.
12:39 p.m.: In yesterday's opening round, Woods' best shot came on the 16th, when he bent a fairway wood 269 yards around a tree, leading to birdie.
His best today? It just happened. Tiger hit a dart on the par-3 fifth hole and swiped in the five-foot left-to-right bender to once again bounce back from bogey. He moves back to even for the day with four holes to play.
12:28 p.m.: It's often said that after a lengthy layoff, the last part of a golfer's game to return is the short game. Woods just proved it on the fourth hole. Just off the front of the green in two, his bump-and-run bumped and stopped, leaving him woefully short of the hole. Two-putt from there puts him back over-par for the day and 1 under for the tournament.
12:15 p.m.: More solid distance control for Tiger on No. 3. Fairway and pin-high on the green, but misses a 20-footer and settles for a fourth consecutive par to remain at 2 under for the tournament and even for the round. That would have had him going backwards yesterday, but Firestone CC is playing much tougher in today's second round.
12:03 p.m.: Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. Woods' drive on the par-5 second hole goes through two trees, hits the cart path, kicks back toward the fairway – and from there, his stance was impeded by the path, so he was able to take a free drop into the benign first cut.
Of course, the Golf Gods giveth and the Golf Gods taketh away. His second shot hit above the greenside bunker, but rolled back in. From there, he pitched and two-putted for another par. Still at even for the day, still at 2 under for the tourney.
11:46 a.m.: Chalk up another victory for distance control. Tiger knocks another approach pin-high, but misses about a 20-footer on the first hole - his 10th of the day. That distance control is oh-so-important, though. Without that, even accurate driving and a hot putter mean would mean near nothing.
11:33 a.m.: You know Tiger likes his shot when he does that patented club twirl during his follow-through and that's exactly what happened on his approach into the 18th green. Knocked it pin-high, but looking for a third straight birdie, he lipped out and settled for par to conclude an even-par 35 for his first nine holes.
11:21 a.m.: I believe this is what's referred to as a double-bounceback. After back-to-back bogeys, Woods has righted the ship with back-to-back birdies, sinking a short putt on the 17th hole - his eighth of the day - to move back to even for the round and 2 under overall.
11:07 a.m.: Nice bounceback for Tiger. He lays up on the par-5 16th hole, but knocks in the 12-footer for birdie - a longer distance than his previous two misses combined - and gets back into red figures for the tournament. Rumors of his putting demise have been greatly exaggerated.
10:54 a.m.: Two straight bogeys for Woods, as a pulled tee shot, indifferent chip and pulled putt lead to a 4 on the par-3 15th hole. The flatstick has gone downhill in a hurry. Now 2 over for the day and even par for the tourney.
10:43 a.m.: First major miscue for Tiger. After wedging his third shot to 2 feet, he simply missed the putt for par. We've seen this a few times in the past two years. Without having the stats in front of me, I'd venture to guess Woods has missed more from 3 feet in - though still not a large percentage - the past 20 tourney starts than the previous 50. That drops him to 1 over for the day, 1 under for the tournament.
10:30 a.m.: Another hole, another par for Tiger at 13. Again, his distance control is an issue, as he flies the green from the middle of the fairway. It's worth wondering about: Is this an effect of a swing in which he says he's "flushing" it and hitting the ball more solidly or possibly the impact of not having his longtime caddie helping with yardages and club selection? One thing is for sure: If it's the latter, Tiger will never admit it.
10:16 a.m.: Good news for Woods: He stiffed his tee shot on the par-3 12th hole. Bad news: He couldn't convert the 8-footer for birdie. Still even-par through three holes.
10:10 a.m.: On his second hole of the day - the 11th on the course - Woods makes a routine par. Fairway, green, two-putt. Birdie attempt was a decent roll, but missed on the high side. Still even-par through two.
9:59 a.m.: Woods intimated yesterday that his distance control isn't where he needs it to be yet. As evidenced, he chunked his approach on No. 10 - his first of the day - but a good chip salvaged par.
As he walked off the green, Tiger turned to caddie Bryon Bell and said, "We're gonna lose some weight this week, B." Uh, yeah. It's a tad steamy.
9:52 a.m.: First tee shot of the day. Woods uses 3-wood, pulls it into left rough, but only a few yards off the fairway. And we're off...
9:28 a.m.: In his return to competitive golf after a three-month injury hiatus, Tiger Woods looked very much like, well, Tiger Woods in the opening round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
Though he found only 5-of-14 fairways and missed a few makeable putts, Woods posted just a single bogey and shot 2-under 68. More importantly, afterward he said he felt no further pain in his leg and was pleased with how his game is progressing.
Woods is still finishing up his warmup session in advance of a 9:50 a.m. tee time with Darren Clarke today. Stick right here throughout the round for hole-by-hole updates and analysis.
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