Tiger Woods hit the fairways in front of an adoring crowd for the second round of the Genesis invitational Friday as he looked to use his momentum from an incredible opening round to see him through to the weekend.
The 47-year-old birdied the last three holes to record an incredible two-under-par first round yesterday as he proved he could still find fine form.
And his game showed no signs of cooling down on Day Two as he set up an instant birdie chance.
Teeing off on the back nine for round two, alongside playing partners Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas again, Woods played it safe by laying up on 10 but was rewarded with a stellar iron shot into the green that left him with an uphill, eight-foot putt.
His birdie-streak, carried over from the previous say, ended at three as the ball grazed the low edge of the cup but the icon was left with an easy par putt to kickstart his round.
Tiger Woods looked to continue his striking form Friday at Day Two of the Genesis Invitational
The 47-year-old was given another rousing reception on 10 from the gathered fans
The American icon’s game showed no sign of cooling down with a smooth start Friday
Woods continued to put himself into position with a well-plotted approach at the par-five 11th, leaving himself with another birdie putt. But while his long game was still sizzling, it appeared his putter needed to heat up as failed to capitalize once again.
He was made to rue those wasted chances on 12 as two wayward shots from the tee and the rough saw him end up sandy and despite an impressive attempt from the greenside bunker, Woods’s putter failed him once again and he couldn’t save par.
Just as the wind looked to have been snatched out of his sails with yet another bogey on 13, the ever-resilient legend bounced back with the perfect strike from the tee box on 14.
Woods riled up the bleary-eyed crowd with a near ace. Landing in the perfect spot, it rolled within a foot of a hole and an easy tap in for his first birdie of the day. Textbook Tiger.
Just as the chances appeared to keep slipping through his fingers with another missed birdie putt on the par-three 16th, Woods showed glimpses of his heyday with a fantastic approach to the 17th green, sticking the landing to claw his way back to two-under.
Wrapping up the front nine with another par on 18, Woods headed into the turn even for the day but in the knowledge he could’ve been well into the red for his second round.
All eyes were on Woods on Thursday as massive crowds followed his group around the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles to witness the great’s first tournament with a cut since The Open last July.
And the American golfing hero turned back the clock to record an unexpectedly impressive round, matching McIlroy and Thomas stride-for-stride, often outdriving them despite his ongoing injury concerns.
Woods headed to the clubhouse on Thursday evening joint 27th on the leaderboard at two-under, while McIlroy was T6 on four-under, and and Thomas was T11th at three-under-par.
Many will be intrigued to see how Woods’ body holds up with his late finish/early start going into Friday’s second round, as he battles against his injuries in a bid to secure more success at the twilight of his career.
Woods matched his playing partners Rory McIlroy (C) and Justin Thomas (R) stride-for-stride
The star was made to rue two missed putts for birdie on his opening two holes of the day
Going wayward off the tee on 12, Woods failed to save par, dropping his first shot of the day
The Tiger fan club was out in force on the fairways of Riviera to follow the golfing icon
After the Genesis Invitational, Woods will be hoping to head to the Players’ Championship at TPC Sawgrass next month before a return to Augusta for the first major of the year – The Masters.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of the Genesis Open on Tuesday, Woods was quick to insist that he believes he can win the tournament.
‘I would not have put myself out here if I didn’t think I could beat these guys,’ Woods said ahead of the event, which has attracted 19 of the top 20 players in the world.
‘I’m there to get a W, OK? So I don’t understand that making the cut is a great thing,’ Woods said. ‘If I entered the event, it’s always to get a W. There will come a point in time when my body will not allow me to do that anymore, and it’s probably sooner rather than later.
‘But wrapping my ahead around that transition and being the ambassador role and just trying to be out here with the guys, no, that’s not in my DNA.’
Woods managed just nine rounds in 2022 because of complications around the limb-threatening injuries he sustained in his car crash the previous year.
The 15-time major winner wowed with an opening round of two-under-par on Thursday
McIlroy appeared to be as shocked as the rest of the golfing world at Woods’ amazing display
The crowds went wild as Woods birdied 16, 17 and 18 to head to the clubhouse at two-under
Most recently that meant the 47-year-old needed to withdraw from December’s Hero World Challenge owing to plantar fasciitis in his right foot, however he did play later that month alongside his son Charlie at the two-round PNC Championship, where players are allowed to use buggies.
‘The plantar fasciitis is no fun, and now I get to truly recover and heal and progress forward on this because there’s so many good things that I’ve been able to do physically, to be able to hit the golf ball and practice and do everything in a standstill,’ Woods said of the issue back on December 18.
‘But I haven’t been able to get from point A to point B, and obviously going to work on this.’
Woods is the tournament host of the longtime event at Riviera Country Club, where he made his PGA Tour debut as a 16-year-old amateur in 1992 but which he has never won as a professional.