Tiger Woods carded a seven-under-par 65 on Friday to move into a tie for first place at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard.
Woods has not won an event on the PGA Tour since the 2009 BMW Championship, a FedEx Cup Playoff event.
His last major victory was the historic 19-hole playoff win over Rocco Mediate in the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines.
A nasty divorce, numerous injuries and swing changes have prevented Tiger from revisiting the winner's circle.
He has been showing signs of returning to the world-class form of late. Woods had a successful two weeks in Australia in the Australian Open and in the Presidents Cup Matches in November.
After returning to the states, he captured the Chevron Invitational. Woods did receive Official World Golf Ranking points for the win, but it was a small invitation-only field and the event is sponsored by the Woods Foundation.
Tiger made his 2012 PGA Tour debut at the AT&T at Pebble Beach, played himself into the final grouping on Sunday with Phil Mickelson, but shot an abysmal 75 in contrast to Mickelson’s flawless 64.
Tiger elevated hopes of his return at the Honda earlier in March when he made two eagles, carded a 62 in the final round and finished in second place.
The very next week, Tiger fans were forced to hold their breath as he withdrew from the WGC-Cadillac in the middle of the 12th fairway with a sore Achilles.
Woods was given approval from his medical advisers to return to play last Friday and performed well in the Tavistock Cup on Monday and Tuesday at Lake Nona in Orlando.
He posted a three-under-par 69 on Thursday at Bay Hill and followed up with a very tidy 65 on Friday. His total 134 has him tied for the lead heading into the weekend with Charlie Wi.
Tiger’s Friday round was bogey-free and included four birdies in a row on the front nine. He was able to pick up three more birdies coming home for the seven-under-par round.
With a higher percentage of fairways hit, his long game has improved dramatically over the past few weeks. Tiger is beginning to control the distance and trajectory with his irons and is not only hitting greens in regulation, but is leaving himself manageable putts.
Putting is still somewhat of an adventure for Woods, but you do not post a 65 at Bay Hill without making some putts along the way.
“El Tigre” has put himself in position to get his first win in a regular tour event for a long time.
Can he close the deal on the weekend?
Is this a harbinger for the Masters coming up in two weeks?
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