July 20, 2018

Woods Continues At Even Par After Round 2 At The Open

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sticking with his strategy, Tiger Woods carded a second consecutive even-par 71 Friday in the second round of the 147th Open Championship at cool and rainy Carnoustie Golf Links.

As he did Thursday, Woods played conservatively, hitting mostly irons off the tee for position. Although it left him longer approach shots, he gladly sacrificed distance to avoid bunkers and burns.

Woods used a similar game plan in the 2006 Open at sun-baked Royal Liverpool, and it worked to perfection. He pulled out one driver and captured his third claret jug.

On Thursday, Woods opted for the big stick once, and used it four times on Friday, finding one fairway. While persistent rain was a pain, it also slowed down the rock-hard fairways, allowing players to be more aggressive.

“They weren’t as fiery,” he said. “The ball wasn’t rolling 80, 90 yards like it was yesterday.”

Woods has a 36-hole score of 142 and is tied for 29th, six strokes behind co-leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner. It was the first time since the 2013 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that Woods has posted par or better in the first two rounds at a major championship.

“It was a test,” said Woods, who recorded four birdies and four bogeys. “I could have cleaned up the round a little bit. And I did not exactly get off to the best start.”

On Thursday, he birdied two of the first four holes. Friday, he bogeyed two of the first three.

“Today wasn’t quite as good, but I finally birdied a par-5, so that’s a positive,” he said.

An early starter with Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama, the trio dealt with rain and drizzle most of the round. For the second straight day, Woods wore KT Tape to aid a stiff neck.

He regained the dropped shots with back-to-back birdies at the par-4 fourth and fifth holes. A nice approach set up the first from 12 feet below the flag, the second was a 25-foot putt.

A poor approach resulted in a bogey at the par-4 ninth, Woods lipped out his par attempt from six feet.

He got that back by sinking a 15-foot birdie putt at the par-4 11th. Woods climbed into red figures by reaching the par-5 14th with a 3-iron and 5-iron, two-putting from 20 feet.

On the testy par-3 16th, he blocked his tee shot into the right bunker and was unable to save par. But he made solid pars at 17 and 18.

At the latter, he flushed an iron down the fairway, then hoisted a majestic 6-iron that stopped just inside seven-feet, left of the pin. His birdie try grazed the right edge of the cup, Woods staring in disbelief.

For the day, he hit 11 of 15 fairways, 13 greens and used 33 putts. He ranks second in the field in fairways found.

Afterward, Woods skipped the practice range and went to the gym to lift weights.

A good portion of the leaderboard is occupied by players who drew early-late starts. Woods went late-early.

“They had no wind yesterday and they have very little wind this afternoon with a softer course,” Woods said.

Conditions should be more equitable Saturday, as the field has been trimmed from 156 to 67. The cut came at 3-over 145.

There are 28 players under par.

“I’m certainly right in it,” said Woods.

On Saturday, he starts at 1:15 p.m. local time (8:15 a.m. ET) with Shaun Norris of South Africa. There is no rain in the forecast, but more wind is expected.