Hero World Challenge: Woods cards an impressive 7-under 65

Tiger Woods strode confidently across the course, played with assurance of old and exhibited mannerisms of yore to card a bogey-free 7-under 65 in the second round of the Hero World Challenge at the sun swept Albany Golf Course on Friday.

Tiger Woods has occupied the tied ninth position.   -  AP

The mojo is back!

Tiger Woods strode confidently across the course, played with assurance of old and exhibited mannerisms of yore to card a bogey-free 7-under 65 in the second round of the Hero World Challenge at the sun swept Albany Golf Course here on Friday.

>Read: Par-five improvement delights resurgent Woods

The score of 138 has put Woods, who only had long-time caddie Joe LaCava for company because playing partner Justin Rose withdrew prior to the round with a back injury, in tied ninth place, six strokes behind co-leaders Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama.

Among the others, defending champion Bubba Watson fired in the day’s best round (63), while overnight leader J. B. Holmes stuttered a bit to drop down the 17-man leaderboard.

The protagonist of the event continued to be Woods. The former World No. 1’s accuracy on the day can be gauged from the fact he found eight of 13 fairways and 14 greens as he returned to the clubhouse with seven birdies.

Playing with a fewer fans following him under light breeze conditions, Woods made his intentions known from the first tee by unleashing a big drive, a great wedge shot and a six-foot putt for a birdie.

After racking up another birdie on the sixth with a 16-foot putt, he pulled off the first of his two impressive par-saves on the eighth before noting down a birdie on the ninth in his scorecard. The momentum was on.

Moment of the day

Four birdies between holes 11 and 15 may have endorsed his brilliance and consistency, but the save-par on the 16th, which he had double-bogeyed on Thursday, had vintage Tiger written all over it. After a tough second shot from the bush, following a tee ball that went awry, he curled a 25-footer to save par and roared his delight with a trademark big fist pump.

“After the eighth, I told Joey I’m not dropping a shot. 16 was big. I don’t know what it is about playing and competing, but keeping cards clean, there’s something really special and it feels pretty good doing that,” said the five-time champion.

The scores (after 36 holes, all USA unless mentioned):

132: Dustin Johnson (66-66), Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn, 65-67); 134: Matt Kuchar (67-67), Louis Oosthuizen (RSA, 67-67); 135: Bubba Watson (72-63); 136: Brandt Snedeker (72-64); 137: Jordan Spieth (68-69), J.B. Holmes (64-73); 138: Tiger Woods (73-65), Rickie Fowler (68-70), Henrik Stenson (Swe, 67-71); 140: Brooks Koepka (72-68); 141: Patrick Reed (72-69), Zach Johnson (72-69), Russell Knox (69-72); 142: Emiliano Grillo (Arg, 70-72); 144: Jimmy Walker (70-74).