Tiger Woods is No. 1 in the world golf rankings, and on Friday, he moved to No. 1 on the leaderboard at his own tournament at the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge.
The 14-time major champion flashed his trademark dominant form in the second round by putting up a bogey-free, 10-under 62 at Sherwood Country Club, opening up a two-shot lead over Zach Johnson.
Here is a quick overview of the top competitors in the elite 18-player field:
|Northwestern Mutual World Challenge Round 2 Leaderboard|
There was a one-hour delay for the start of Round 2 of the tournament in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and the weather wasn't as warm as one might expect in the Golden State.
From the beginning of the day, though, it was clear that Woods was hot and dialed in, as he hit his approach to the par-four first hole to kick-in range to get off to an ideal start:
Johnson was the overnight leader, but Woods kicked it up to another level amid colder conditions that weren't necessarily favorable for low scores. A birdie at the par-five No. 2 got Woods to minus-two through two holes.
He would birdie three additional holes on the front nine to go out in five-under 31—the last of those coming on this bomb of a putt at No. 7:
The tournament host didn't ease up on his esteemed guests once he hit the turn, either.
After a birdie at No. 10, a disappointing close-range eagle putt did not even hit the hole, though it was still good enough for a birdie to give Woods his first share of the lead.
A par at the 12th followed, but then he birdied 13 and 14 and capped off his birdie binge at the par-five 16th, which gave him birdies on all but one of the par fives for the round.
When he is hitting all 18 greens in regulation and missing only one fairway in a round, it's hard to compete with him.
Having said that, Graeme McDowell played well in his own right alongside Woods, firing a five-under 67 that also was absent of a dropped shot.
The Northern Irishman's efforts may have paled in comparison to his fellow competitor, but he nevertheless remained steady and is within striking distance at five under for the tournament.
Bear in mind that McDowell is the only multiple winner of this event other than Woods. In addition to being the defending champion, he also knocked off Woods in a 2010 playoff.
The men between McDowell and Woods are Johnson and Matt Kuchar. Johnson left much to be desired, though, because he started with three birdies in five holes but followed up with 13 consecutive pars. Some redemption was salvaged when he rolled in a birdie on No. 18.
Kuchar got off to a hot start by birdying the first two holes as Woods did. Then he made a clutch birdie at the par-four No. 6 to keep his early roll going:
One of the most consistent players on the PGA Tour then converted a difficult sand save at the last hole—a tricky par four—to remain just behind Johnson at minus-eight.
As might be expected, one of the more colorful scorecards of the day belonged to Bubba Watson, who moved to four under through five holes after the shot of the day to set up eagle at the par-five fifth:
The uncompromising style of Bubba Golf eventually caught up to the 2012 Masters winner, though.
He followed that with a bogey and a double bogey and then made two bogeys and two birdies on the back nine to card a second consecutive two-under 70.
Some of the world's best have found this tournament to be a struggle, including Rory McIlroy, who won in Australia last week but took a nine on the par-five No. 16 to slip to a tie for 16th at plus-six in shooting 77.
But the story of the day, as is often inevitable when discussing professional golf, was Woods' dominance. His round was five strokes better than anyone else in the field in the second round, and he looks well on his way to claiming his 80th tour victory.
Note: Statistics, information and video are courtesy of PGATour.com.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!