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Woods after 3-under 69: 'I'm still right there'

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AUGUSTA, Ga. – Tiger Woods shot 3-under 69 Friday at the Masters, just his third score under 70 in his last 27 major championship rounds. It was also the first time Woods shot a round in the 60s at Augusta National since the final round of 2011.

Woods stands at 2-under 142, which was just outside the top 10 on the leaderboard when he finished and is 12 shots behind leader Jordan Spieth, who set the 36-hole Masters scoring record. Woods still hasn't missed the cut as a professional at the Masters.

“Very proud of what I’ve done, to be able to dig it out the way I have,” he said.

Woods grinded as much Friday as he did Thursday during a first-round 73, but, unlike in Round 1, Woods was sharper with most phases of his game.

On Thursday, surprisingly, it was his short game that kept him from shooting a higher score.

In Round 2, Woods played for position nicely off the tee and made four birdies and only a lone bogey that came as a result of a flubbed chip shot. A key par save from 10 feet on the par-4 17th hole produced the biggest fist pump of the week and kept momentum on his side.

Mark O’Meara, 58, ended the day at 3 under and is one shot ahead of Woods. The two played practice rounds together on both Monday and Tuesday and played the Par 3 Contest together on Wednesday. O’Meara believes he may have given his longtime buddy some added inspiration on Friday.

“He probably saw my name go up on the board, he’s like ‘I can’t let the old man beat me, I better play good today,'” O’Meara said. “I’m really happy for him.”

Woods certainly has come a long way from where he was two months ago. A missed cut in Phoenix, followed by a WD after 11 holes in San Diego sent him into a hiatus with more questions than answers. Many of those questions, however, were answered by shooting 69.

Even though Woods has appeared much more pleasant this week – his random hugs, dancing and smiles used as evidence – there are many times when we get visions of the old Woods.

Exhibit A came in his post-round interview when he said, “I’m still right there. I’m 12 back, but there’s not a lot of guys ahead of me. And with 36 holes here to go, anything can happen you know.”