Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama share the lead through two rounds at the Hero World Challenge, as Tiger Woods on Friday carded a bogey-free 7-under 65 in his second round back from a 15-month layoff. Here’s where things stand through 36 holes in Albany:
Leaderboard: Johnson (-12), Matsuyama (-12), Matt Kuchar (-10), Louis Oosthuizen (-10), Bubba Watson (-9), Brandt Snedeker (-8), Jordan Spieth (-7), J.B. Holmes (-7), Tiger Woods (-6), Rickie Fowler (-6), Henrik Stenson (-6)
What it means: Matsuyama is the hottest player on the planet, hunting his fourth win in his last five starts. He won the Japan Open, the WGC-HSBC Champions, and Taiheiyo Masters and was second at the CIMB Classic. Those results have him up to sixth in the Official World Golf Ranking. A victory in Albany would give him his fifth worldwide win of 2016, which he kicked off with a playoff victory over Rickie Fowler at TPC Scottsdale in February. He sits tied with the reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year, Dustin Johnson, who is looking to cap off his career year with a fourth and final victory.
Round of the day: Following an even-par 72 in Round 1, defending champion Bubba Watson fired a 9-under 63 to get himself just three off the lead heading into the weekend. Watson played Albany’s front nine in a tournament-record 29 and went 6 under on the course’s five par 5s.
Best of the rest: Like Bubba, Brandt Snedeker followed up an even-par start with birdies in bunches. Snedeker made three straight birdies on Nos. 1-3 and 6-8 to sandwich his only bogey of the round at the fourth. He added three more birdies on a mistake-free back nine to post 8-under 64.
Biggest disappointment: First-round leader J.B. Holmes got himself to 12 under for the week after his first six holes, but that was as good it would get. He gave away two shots at the par-3 12th trying to play his ball from the water hazard, he traded a birdie and a bogey at the 15th and 16th, and he made a mess of the 18th, where two pitch-outs from the bushes and a three-putt resulted in a triple bogey, a back-nine 41, and second-round 73.
Shot of the day: Faced with a lengthy par putt at the par-4 16th to keep his card clean, Tiger looked very much like Tiger:
Now 6 under for the week, Woods, who played by himself Friday, will go off with Fowler on Saturday.
Quote of the day: “After hitting that terrible shot there into another bush and getting the up-and-down (on No. 8), I told Joey (LaCava), ‘I’m not dropping a shot. I wanted to keep that card clean." - Woods