Tiger Woods did enough in the second round of the CIMB Classic to put himself in contention heading into the weekend. He posted a four-under round of 67 and now stands at nine-under overall, five strokes behind leader Robert Garrigus in a tie for fifth.
Strong performances on the first two days have been a common theme for Woods throughout the season. Backing them up with equally good play on the weekend has been a much less frequent occurrence, a trend he'll be looking to change this week.
The tournament, which is taking place in Malaysia ahead of Woods' showdown with Rory McIlroy in China on Monday, doesn't feature many big names. Garrigus, Troy Matteson and Kevin Na are among the other Americans in the mix through two rounds.
It was workmanlike showing from Woods in Round 2. He was able to convert six birdies, but a couple of bogeys set him back on a course with favorable scoring conditions. Garrigus and Jbe' Kruger were both seven-under par on Friday.
One hole Woods did take advantage of was the par-five 17th. After putting his second shot just over the green, he played a delicate chip shot within a few feet of the hole and proceeded to tap it in for birdie. He then parred the 18th.
Now comes the tough part. Woods has to find a way to make up five strokes over the weekend without playing so aggressively he gives back any progress he makes with bogeys. It's a balancing act he struggled with all season when playing from behind.
Where will Woods finish in the CIMB Classic?
Even though he wasn't able to pick up a major championship, it's been a pretty successful season for the fan favorite. He won three events and finished inside the top 10 in five of his last seven tournaments. He appears on track to make it six of eight.
For Woods, it all comes down to wins. Even when he was struggling mightily after he returned to the game following his much-publicized personal hiatus, he would enter every tournament with the goal of winning.
Nothing has changed since that point. Picking up the victory will be the only goal this weekend. In his post-round interview, the 14-time major champion talked about having to likely reach at least 20-under par to have a chance.
It's impossible to count Woods out despite the fact he's five strokes off the pace. The golfers ahead of him on the leaderboard aren't top players, and knowing Tiger is breathing down their neck will only increase the pressure level over the next two days.
Since Woods is only scheduled to play one more tournament before year's end—the World Challenge in California between Thanksgiving and Christmas—it's important to take advantage of these chances to build momentum toward next season.
He will tee off the third round at 10:30 p.m. ET, playing alongside fellow American Ben Crane, who's in a tie for eighth at eight-under par. The Golf Channel will begin live coverage at midnight.