Tiger Woods Rises Up Leaderboard with 6-Under Round 2 at Hero World Challenge

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistDecember 5, 2019

NASSAU, BAHAMAS - DECEMBER 05: Tiger Woods of the United States reacts to a putt on the fifth hole during the second round of the Hero World Challenge at Albany on December 05, 2019 in Nassau, Bahamas. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

After a frustrating first round that left him scrambling for answers, Tiger Woods is back in contention at the Hero World Challenge. 

Woods carded a six-under 66 in Thursday's second round, vaulting him into a tie for sixth place and six strokes behind leader Patrick Reed. He played a bogey-less round and ramped up his play on the back nine, carding three of his four birdies and an eagle to head into the clubhouse with a 31.

The round continued a strong stretch of golf for Woods since he returned from August knee surgery. He won October's Zozo Championship with four straight rounds in the 60s and righted the ship after an ugly round Wednesday that saw him post four bogeys and a double to scrape by for an even-par 72.

"I can drive the ball a little bit better because I can rotate and I can putt the ball better because I can get down and read putts again," Woods said after the round, per Geoff Shackelford of Golfweek. "I couldn't do that, so this has been nice to be able to get down there, squat, read some putts. I don't have to call Joey [LaCava] on every putt because I can't get down there, so it's been nice."

The Hero World Challenge functions as a convening of the world's best golfers, with only 18 players in the field. Jordan Spieth is the lowest-ranked player in the field at No. 44.

Woods has been stellar on the greens through the first two rounds, including a 24-putt outing on Thursday. While he scuffled a bit with ball placement on the front nine—he made the turn at one under after recording a lone birdie with eight pars. 

Things changed on the par-five 11th, which saw Woods record his second eagle of the tournament. A birdie on the following hole got him quickly to four-under on the day, and Woods kept his steady hand with birdies on Nos. 14 and 16. 

If there's any level of disappointment coming from the world No. 1, it's likely the fact he left strokes on the table at No. 15. The par five, which Woods eagled in Round 1, wound up being arguably his most disappointing par of the round.

Reed has looked like far and away the best golfer in the tournament through two rounds after posting consecutive 66s. But if he comes back to the field a little bit over the next 36 holes, Woods should be within striking distance of winning his second straight tournament.