Golf: Tiger moves into lead
BETHESDA, Md. ó The best of Tiger Woods came Friday when his game was falling apart.
Woods lived up to his hopes of being a “greedy host” when he salvaged his round during a shaky stretch in the middle and shot 4-under 66 to take a one-shot lead at his AT&T National with the lowest 36-hole score ever at Congressional Country Club.
“Either I hit it pretty close to the hole, within 10 feet, or I was missing greens,” Woods said. “So it was a little bit of two ends today. It was nice to actually get a score out of it.”
Woods was at 10-under 130, breaking by one shot the previous 36-hole score at Congressional set last year by Tom Pernice Jr. and Jeff Overton. Woods had a one-shot lead over Rod Pampling, who had a 64 to boost his chances of qualifying for the British Open.
Defending champion Anthony Kim couldn’t build on his course-record 62 from the opening round. He played in the afternoon, after Woods set the target, and caught him briefly before missing too many fairways and having to settle for a 70 that put him two behind.
Jim Furyk, adding more star power to the leaderboard, had a 67 and was alone in fourth.
Perhaps more daunting than Woods’ record 36-hole score is his record on the PGA Tour when he has at least a share of the 36-hole lead. He is 31-6, having won the last 11 times from that spot dating to 2004 at the Byron Nelson Championship.
While some of the birdies were pure, such as 5-iron within four feet of a tucked flag on the 13th, it was his worst golf that showed why Woods contends as often as he does.
He twice hit tee shots into the rough and couldn’t get to the green. Another tee shot went into the bunker. He missed the green at a par 3 on the wrong side of the hole. From the middle of the fairway, he hit a miserable shot into a hollow of thick grass.
Woods played that five-hole stretch in one under.
“That’s why the guy is at such a high level,” said U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover, who played with Woods and shot 66 to join the group at 5-under 135. “When things are going bad, he can rely on his short game. He just doesn’t waste any shots. If he’s losing shots, it’s because of a bad break or a bad lie.”