Sun, Apr 14, 2019 - Page 11 News List

Tiger thrills, but five others share lead

TRIPPED UP:The riveted crowd got a scare when a security guard slipped into Woods’ right foot, but the 15-time major winner seemed unharmed, saying: ‘Accidents happen’


Tiger Woods plays his shot from the third tee during the second round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on Friday in Augusta, Georgia.

Photo: AFP

Tiger Woods on Friday thrilled Augusta National by leaping into contention in the second round of the Masters, firmly putting himself in the hunt for a historic 15th major title and fifth green jacket.

The 43-year-old superstar fired a dramatic four-under-par 68 to share sixth place on six-under 138 through 36 holes, one stroke behind a record Masters lead logjam of five coleaders — all of them major winners — on seven-under 137.

“It was fun,” Woods said. “I felt like I left a few shots out there. It was a solid day. I tried to grind it out there.”

Reigning Open champion Francesco Molinari; last year’s British Championship and PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka; Australians Jason Day and Adam Scott; and South African Louis Oosthuizen all shared the midway lead.

However, their feats were all eclipsed by Woods, who signaled he would be a threat to capture his first major title since the 2008 US Open and first Masters title since 2005.

“After three knee surgeries and four back surgeries, I’m great,” Woods said.

While Woods settled for being in a pack one adrift with second-ranked Dustin Johnson, fellow American Xander Schauffele and South African Justin Harding, there was no doubt he was the star to crowds glued to his every move.

After two early birdies and a bogey, Woods missed an eight-foot par putt at the eighth hole and seemed destined for an unspectacular round.

What followed brought back chilling roars harkening to his 1997 “Tigermania” first major win.

Woods sank a 37-foot birdie putt at the ninth, dropped in a 13-footer for birdie at 11, then lipped out a birdie chance at the 12th after a storm delay.

At 14, Woods escaped trees left of the fairway, put his approach to 28 feet and holed the testy putt to reach five-under.

After Woods hit his second shot, a security guard slipped on muddy ground and slid into Woods’ right foot, causing a few fearful moments before the superstar tested his ankle and walked on unharmed.

“It is what it is,” Woods said. “Accidents happen. We move on. I’m good.”

At the par-five 15th, Woods curled in a 30-footer for a birdie, punctuated with a right fist pump to put himself one stroke off the lead.

His five putts made from beyond 20 feet over two days are two more than any rival.

Oosthuizen made seven birdies in shooting a 66, while Day fired 67 after tweaking his back on Thursday.

Seventh-ranked Molinari fired a bogey-free 67, the lowest score of his 26 career rounds at Augusta National, where his best finish was a share of 19th in 2012.

“It was a solid day off the tee,” Molinari said. “Hit some quality iron shots and when I missed, I missed them in the right spot.”

Scott, the 2013 Masters champion, eagled the par-five 15th to reach eight-under, but a bogey at 16 dropped him back into the pack.

“I put myself in a good place for the weekend,” Scott said. “I’m in a good spot to kind of run with them.”

Koepka fired a 71, despite a double-bogey disaster at the par-five second hole, and birdies at 15 and 18.

Four-time major champion Rory McIlroy, seeking a green jacket to complete a career Grand Slam, fired a 71 to stand seven back on 144.

Phil Mickelson, who at 48 would become the oldest major champion in history with a win, shot 73 in his 100th career Masters round to stand three off the lead.

World No. 1 Justin Rose missed the cut for the first time in 14 Augusta appearances at 148 after a second-round 73. Sergio Garcia also missed the weekend.

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