It was a long yet fruitful day of golf for Tiger Woods at the Turkish Airlines Open on Friday as he played 26 holes in dominant fashion after poor weather cut his first round short on Thursday. Despite that, fatigue wasn't a factor. He finished the day at 11 under overall, which put him in fifth place and just one stroke behind leaders Victor Dubuisson, Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson and Justin Walters.
After getting through 10 holes on Thursday, Woods finished up his first round early Friday morning, and he was able to improve upon his overall score by one stroke.
Woods found himself in position to drain a birdie putt when first-round play resumed on the 11th hole. He made no mistake and banged it home to move to two under par. And he nearly chipped in for birdie on the 12th, according to Golf Channel's Matt Ginella.
Tiger is one of the most competitive athletes in the history of sports, so he usually has his game face on at all times, but he was loose and comfortable Friday, which is probably one of the reasons why he played so well.
Walking down 13th fairway, Rose gives Tiger a download on relegation (and promotion) system of football/soccer. #TAOpen— Matt Ginella (@MattGinellaGC) November 8, 2013
He picked up another birdie on the 13th, seeming to gain momentum after what many considered a mediocre first day.
After parring the next several holes, he found himself in a bit of trouble on the par-five 18th. After hitting a poor tee shot that left him in the rough and behind some trees, he tried to go for the green in two. The gutsy play didn't work out, as his shot found the water, and he had to settle for a bogey to finish the round at two under.
Tiger (-3) getting in contention at #TAOpen: birdie-par-birdie at 11 (par 5), 12 (4) & 13 (5). Stenson (-6) does the same. Rose is even.— Matt Ginella (@MattGinellaGC) November 8, 2013
Such a disappointing finish to the first round could have messed with his head a bit heading into the second round, but the world's No. 1 player was able to shake it off quickly. Woods picked up a par on the first hole after birdying it Thursday; however, the floodgates opened in a positive way after that.
Tiger goes for 18 in two with fairway metal from this lie...water left, makes bogey (-2) thru round 1. pic.twitter.com/XkU12pLTJa— Matt Ginella (@MattGinellaGC) November 8, 2013
Tiger cashed in with three consecutive birdies to get himself to five under, which was within striking distance of the leaders at that time.
Following a par on the fifth hole, Woods came up with yet another birdie as he knocked down a lengthy putt. His 180-degree turn in play from Thursday to Friday started to mirror the 180-degree change in the weather as well.
That make put Woods at four under through six holes and at six under for the tournament, according to Golf Channel's Tiger Tracker.
At 6th, Stenson saves par (-8), Tiger makes 20-ft birdie putt (-6) & Rose makes 7-ft birdie putt (-4). pic.twitter.com/z3ElBM7RFC— Matt Ginella (@MattGinellaGC) November 8, 2013
He had a golden opportunity to better his score once again on the seventh hole, but the putter failed him as his birdie attempt went begging.
Finished his first round with a 2-under 70, ahead of that pace here in Rd. 2, 4 under through 6 holes, -6 overall, four off lead— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 8, 2013
He has never been one to rest on his laurels, though. He picked up on the back nine where he left off on the front. He birdied for the sixth time in 10 holes as he continued to lurk just behind the leaders.
Tiger birdies, -7 overall, -5 thru 9 of round 2. Rose also birdies 9, he goes to -5. Stenson is -8. Best players in world are getting hot.— Matt Ginella (@MattGinellaGC) November 8, 2013
Although he was having what felt like a near-perfect round through 10 holes, a miscue on the 11th kept him from pulling to within one shot of the lead. He had a straightforward birdie putt from within five feet, but he was unable to convert, which left him noticeably annoyed.
Another birdie on 10 keeps him within 2, Stenson and Poulter right there with him— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 8, 2013
He rebounded with a solid par on the 12th, but his putting started to go south on the ensuing holes. He put himself in position to birdie the 13th after a less-than-ideal second shot, but he was off target once again and had to settle for par.
Tiger hits speed bump...misses birdie putt on 11, stays -8. Rose birdies, -7. Stenson makes par, -9. (Walks off green mumbling to himself.)— Matt Ginella (@MattGinellaGC) November 8, 2013
A gorgeous tee shot on the par-three 14th gave him yet another makeable look at birdie. This one was even easier than the putt on the 13th, but he misread it once again, which led to a fourth consecutive par.
Tiger pulls that putt left but makes an easy par. He's still 6 under on the day, 8 under overall and 2 off the lead.— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 8, 2013
Woods didn't allow the missed putt to throw him off his game plan, though, as he took a conservative approach on the short, par-four 15th. He hit a great iron off the tee, knocked it close and was finally able to hop back on the birdie train as he move to nine under.
Not another good stroke here on 14, bummer. Back to back poor putting strokes. Still 6 under today. In. The. Hunt.— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 8, 2013
He had a great chance to double up with another birdie on the 16th hole as he put his tee shot close on the par three, but he once again misfired on the putt, which marred an otherwise fantastic round.
Makes it count for birdie, two back of new co-leaders Stenson and Poulter— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 8, 2013
As is often the case with Woods, though, his putter came and went. He put the near misses behind him on the 17th hole as he took advantage of a gorgeous approach by coming up with yet another birdie.
Geez, he misses this putt too. Honestly, as good as this round is, he's missed 3 shorties.— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 8, 2013
That wasn't enough for him, as he wanted to finish the round in style. His approach on the par-five 18th landed in a bunker, but Woods is arguably the best sand player in the world. He was able to get it up and down for his ninth birdie of the round.
And he makes it - eighth birdie of the day, no bogeys. I'd say it's a nifty round. Par 5 upcoming at the last.— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 8, 2013
If not for his inconsistent putter, he might have been flirting with history.
It's good to be Tiger, especially now. Stanford smokes Oregon and he birdies the last to shoot 63. Not. Too. Shabby.— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 8, 2013
The 63 included 9 birdies 0 bogeys. Honestly, 3 short misses kept it from being incredibly special. Still, strong. Only 1 shot off the lead.— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 8, 2013
Woods talked about his round after the day was over, according to the Associated Press via USA Today:
I played a little better certainly this afternoon and made some putts, so that was fine.
It was a round that could have been really special but I am right there and I am only one back. It's a bunched leaderboard so we are going to have to continue to go low over the weekend given the way the golf course is playing and how soft it is, as it is so receptive and slow and it lends itself to a lot of birdies.
I must have missed about four or five putts inside 10 feet for birdie.
Nevertheless, Woods put himself in a perfect position. The leaders will have to contend with a confident and hard-charging Tiger this weekend.
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