If Tiger Woods' first two rounds at the Farmers Insurance Open are any indication of what's coming during the 2013 PGA season, every golfer not named Rory McIlroy may want to consider turning in his tour card.
Despite another relatively slow start to the day, Woods navigated the North Course at Torrey Pines brilliantly throughout the round. He drilled six birdies and an eagle en route to carding a seven-under score of 65, putting Woods three strokes ahead of a drove of golfers tied for second place.
Through two rounds, Tiger sits at -11 after Thursday's opening-round 68.
Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman noted that Woods was extremely pleased with his short game after his amazing round:
"Now I've got my short game back to where I want it" -Tiger Woods after 2nd rd 65 at Torrey Pines— Kelly Tilghman (@KellyTilghmanGC) January 25, 2013
Much like Thursday's first round, Woods started the day a little bumpy. The world's second-ranked golfer began his round with four straight pars, struggling with the putter. Opening on the 10th hole, Woods spun a beautiful approach within 10 feet, but was unable to finish and two-putted for par.
He then essentially repeated the same mistake on the Par 4 11th hole, this time from a mere five feet out. When his putt lipped off the left side of the cup, Woods showed noticeable frustration, leaving it impossible to wonder whether it was just going to be one of those days for the 37-year-old.
Luckily, the paradigm of Woods' day shifted in a major way on the 14th hole, his fifth of the day. After hitting his approach slightly into the light back rough, Woods spun a beautiful pitch to within inches of the cup for an easy tap in for his day's first birdie.
It seemed all it took was that one birdie to propel Woods to a huge run that thrust him atop the leaderboard. Two pars on the 15th and 16th led to what can only be deemed as an old-school "Tiger charge." Woods dominated the four-hole stretch from No. 17 through No. 2 five-under, including an eagle on No. 18 that sent him into a share of the lead and caused a ruckus in the gallery.
Birdies on the first and second, along with some regression from the pack, gave Woods a three-hole lead through his first 11 holes. The PGA Tour's official Twitter feed noted that the legendary golfer had once again found his groove:
Tiger Woods has found his groove on the North Course. Birdie-Eagle-Birdie-Birdie in last four, 3-shot lead. pgat.us/6017V2vd— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 25, 2013
After that scintillating stretch, Woods understandably descended back to earth a bit. He turned in his second stretch of four straight pars from holes No. 3 through No. 6 and once again missed a couple of decent opportunities.
Nonetheless, the key for Woods was that he didn't descend into hitting wretched tee-shots and bogeying holes. Despite a couple of untenable lies, Woods kept his composure and his lead as the field started nipping at his heels.
He just couldn't quite navigate his way through a bogey-free round. Another birdie on the seventh hole took Woods to seven-under for the day, but he gave it right back on the eighth before heading to his final hole of Friday seemingly at a crossroads.
How did he respond? With yet another under-par score on a Par 5. El Tigre birdied the ninth hole, putting him seven-under for the day, including five-under on Par 5 holes alone.
With a three-stroke lead heading into the clubhouse, the field will have a ton of work to do over the weekend to prevent Woods from locking down his eighth career win at Torrey Pines.
Farmers Insurance Open Day 2 Leaderboard (when Woods finished round)
|1||Tiger Woods||-11 (F)|
|T2||Graham DeLaet||-8 (15)|
|T2||Josh Teater||-8 (13)|
|T2||Ross Fisher||-8 (11)|
|T5||Nick Watney||-7 (F)|
|T5||Casey Wittenberg||-7 (17)|
|T5||Tag Ridings||-7 (16)|
|T5||Jimmy Walker||-7 (14)|
|T3||Billy Horschel||-7 (11)|