2008 U.S. Open: Tiger Woods Shakes off Rust, Fires 68

Ben WeixlmannSenior Writer IJune 13, 2008

The world's best golfer, Tiger Woods, hadn't walked eighteen holes until Thursday's first round at Torrey Pines. You sure wouldn't have been able to tell that after witnessing his second round performance.

Woods was incredible, especially on the second nine, going five-under, en route to a 68. After birdies on his tenth and eleventh holes of the day, Woods ran off three more birdies to post a 30 on his back nine.

It was rare that Woods grimaced in pain from his knee injury, because he hitting shots worthy of smiles. The most impressive part of Woods' game was his focus. Although the crowd was at some points ten to twelve rows deep watching the majestic group, Woods was able to keep his composure and strike beautiful shots.

His final birdie, fittingly, was on the last hole of the day. He drove the ball right down the middle of the fairway and left himself a extremely manageable chip to set up a short birdie putt.

Lost in the Woods and Mickelson hysteria was Stuart Appleby, who leads the open at 3-under. Appleby has an excellent game and has been considered a top ten player in the world for quite some time.

It will be up to Woods, however, to steal the momentum from Appleby early in Saturday's third round. Only one back, if Woods can get a Saturday night lead, it may just be lights out. Woods has never lost a major championship when leading after the third round.

Woods' round didn't start out as hot as it ended, however. He bogeyed two of his first three holes, and honestly looked out of sync. An eagle at the par-5 13th got him back to even for the day, and then he went crazy on the back nine.

It is scary how well Woods has played coming back from his injury. If this is how Woods plays when he is "rusty", the rest of the year may be a Woods saga.

Hopefully for Tiger fans, he will go out and shoot a robust round, claiming the lead after 54 holes. Because as I previously mentioned, he doesn't relinquish that.