Woods just misses 59, takes huge lead at Firestone


AKRON, Ohio – Closing a stellar round with a lengthy par save on the 18th hole, Tiger Woods took command at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational with a 9-under 61 Friday, tying his own course record at Firestone Country Club and his personal best on the PGA Tour.

Woods began with two birdies and an eagle on his first three holes and kept up the momentum throughout his second round, taking just one putt on each of the first seven holes at the South Course. At 13-under 127, Woods has now built a seven-shot lead over Keegan Bradley and Chris Wood after 36 holes.

“I had it going today. It was a nice start,” said Woods, who needed only 22 putts to complete his round Friday. “I just let the round build from there, and made a couple key putts for pars.”

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After turning in 5-under 30, Woods birdied each of the first four holes on the back nine to reach 9 under on the day after 13 holes. With the par-5 16th hole still looming on the par-70 course, the thought of reaching golf’s magic number of 59 was within the realm of possibility.

“I certainly could have done it,” said Woods, who shot 59 at Isleworth Country Club in Windermere, Fla., prior to winning the 1997 Masters. “I’ve been in these positions before where I’ve gone that low.”

Short birdie putts on both the 15th and 17th holes were unable to drop, though, derailing Woods’ bid for a 59. After finding the trees with each of his first two shots on the home hole, he appeared destined for his first bogey of the day. Instead, his third found the back fringe and Woods holed the 26-foot par effort to finish in 61 strokes on a day when the next-best score was a 4-under 66.