Sports

Tiger Woods matches leader Patrick Reed’s second-round 66 to rise to fifth

V Krishnaswamy Albany | Updated on December 06, 2019 Published on December 06, 2019

Patrick Reed

Tiger Woods

Things didn’t seem to be going Tiger Woods’ way for the first 10 holes with missed fairways, missed greens and frequent bunker visits in the second round of the Hero World Challenge. Then he turned them around with a stunning eagle on the Par-5 11th and added three more birdies to close with a bogey-free 66.

That matched the week’s best card — shot twice in two days by President’s Cup pick, Patrick Reed. Gary Woodland in Round 1 and the defending champion, Jon Rahm, on second day also had 66s.

Woods even par on first day was six-under for second and at six-under he moved to Tied-fifth, up from T-11th on first day.

Reed, whose fiercely competitive demeanour has earned him the moniker, Captain America, had seven birdies against one bogey to get to 12-under and three ahead of Gary Woodland, the overnight co-leader. Woodland, lying sole second, salvaged things for himself as he birdied the last three after bogeying the two before them.

Reed, using a new set of irons and a new putter, is now 12-under as he was two-under for the front nine and four-under for the back nine with five birdies against one bogey.

European Tour’s No, 1 golfer Rahm seeking a third win in as many starts shot a bogey-free 66 to get to eight-under and jumped to Tied-third with Swede Henrik Stenson (69-67) as two of the three Europeans here this week held their own in a field of 18 that has 15 Americans.

Rahm, a three-time winner in 2019 and European Tour Golfer of the Year, is looking for a fourth win and he will add further gloss to a great 2019 with his marriage next week in Bilbao.

A stunning comeback

Woods front and back nines were totally different in nature. He hung in for a one-under front nine, but turned it around on the back nine with three birdies and an eagle in a six-hole stretch between 11thand 16th. The highlight was a stunning eagle on 11th when he smashed a huge drive that ran further because of a downslope and followed it up with a perfect second shot to get within five feet for an eagle putt.

He duly converted that and had three other birdies on 12th, 14tth and 16thto card 66 and at six-under he was Tied-fifth with Justin Thomas (69-69) and Rickie Fowler (69-69).

On Thursday’s conditions, Woods said, “I just think it was less windy. It was a little bit easier today. Scoring conditions were a little bit better. I didn’t hit the ball as well as I would like starting out, missed a few greens. Other than No. 2, I missed every green in the correct spot. But I got it going on that back nine, which is nice.”

Reed talking of the round, said, “It’s one of those golf courses that when the wind lays down, it gives you opportunities to make birdies, but when the wind starts blowing, the golf course can get really challenging. It’s just one of these days and one of these weeks that you need to give yourself as many opportunities as you can and play from the short grass because when you do, you can attack.”

On why he loves Ryder Cup and President’s Cup, Reed replied, “I think it’s just the biggest thing; man versus man. When you go out there, whether you’re in your singles or whether you have a teammate, you have to stare that guy down. There’s no such thing as a draw, there is no such thing as guys teeing off in the morning or afternoon; you’re playing that guy head to head right then and there. Gives you something to prove. Go out there and prove to yourself and prove to your team that you deserve that point.”

A confident Rahm said, “I don’t think my confidence level ever changes. I have a lot of belief and confidence in myself, it’s just sometimes you feel better than others, it’s as simple than that.”

Published on December 06, 2019
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