Tiger Shoots 5-Under-Par 66 in Round 2 of the Dell Technologies Championship
NORTON, Mass. – It was only the second round, but Saturdays keep bringing out the best in Tiger Woods.
Entering the Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston, he ranked second on the PGA Tour in third round scoring average at 68.38. The Friday start-Monday finish didn’t throw him off, as Woods carved out a bogey-free 5-under-par 66 to jump into a tie for 21st at 4-under 138, seven strokes behind tournament leader Webb Simpson at the halfway point in the second-of-four FedExCup playoff events.
In two of his last four rounds, Woods has finished without a bogey on his scorecard.
Showing marked improvement in all parts of his game after an opening-round 72, Woods hit 12 fairways and 14 greens while using 27 putts. Even his misses were better, as he left himself in good spots and produced several nice par saves.
“I played well,” said Woods. “It was a good day.”
A putter switch Friday has worked well so far. After adding a TaylorMade Juno blade model in his bag, he took 26 putts in the first round and 27 on Saturday, even with four lip-outs.
“I’m more confident,” Woods said
Returning to TPC Boston for the first time since 2013, he birdied the par-3 third and par-5 seventh holes to turn in 2-under 34.
Paired with Marc Leishman and Chez Reavie, Woods added birdies at the par-4 10th, 14th and 17th holes to shoot 3-under 32 on the back.
It could have been better.
Woods sustained a brutal lip-out for birdie at 15, then another at the par-5 finishing hole. He got stung at the latter twice.
Following a big drive, Woods flushed a 3-iron to the front of the green, but the ball hit hard and rolled long-left, settling well below the putting surface in a closely-mown collection area. He elected to putt, leaving his third shot about 12 feet short of the pin, then caught most of the right side of the cup with his birdie attempt.
After recent adjustments with his driver shaft and loft, Woods is swinging more confidently off the tee. He’s found 22-of-28 fairways this week.
“I’ve driven it much better,” Woods said. “I’m keeping the ball in play a little better. I can cheer for my bad ones, they’re hanging in there. A couple were kind of borderline but still in the fairway.”
A year ago Friday, Woods was cleared to chip following back fusion surgery four months earlier. He posted a video to show his fans his comeback had begun, although Woods was uncertain where it would lead.
“I’ve gone back to that and just been so thankful that I had the opportunity to start chipping again, start progressing,” said the 42-year-old Woods, competing for the fourth time in five weeks. “And I never would have dreamt that I’d be in this position. Just so thankful that everything worked out the way it did.”
He’s made incredible progress, posting five top-10 showings this season in 15 PGA Tour starts. Woods admitted to some initial apprehension.
“I didn’t want to hurt it again,” he said of his back. “I didn’t want to feel that pain again. Every now and again throughout this entire year, I’ve probably golfed and played a different shot here and there because there is a bit of me that doesn’t want to feel that way again.”
On Sunday, Woods starts his third round at 11:35 a.m. ET with Bryson DeChambeau.
When play concludes Monday, the top 70 players in the FedExCup playoff points standings qualify for the third leg of the playoffs at the BMW Championship at Aronimink, Sept. 6-9. Woods has already clinched a berth.