AUGUSTA – Tiger Woods failed at first and got into controversy again as he endured incredible gusts of wind returning from a serious leg injury that wreaked havoc in the second round of the Masters on Friday.
15-time main champion Augusta National fired a roller-coaster in a two-over par 74 to stand at one-over par 145 after 36 holes in the lead, nine behind leader Scott Schaffler but only four behind in second place.
“I got a chance to go on the weekend,” Woods said. “I hope I can find one of those lightbulb moments, turn it on and get it done.”
“Anything can happen at nine o’clock on Sunday. I have to get myself there. “
The world number one Sheffler, seeking his first major title, was ahead of the eight-under course through 17 holes.
Woods, an epic comeback 14 months after a horrific car crash, struck just three strokes behind the leaders on Friday but made four bogies in the first five holes.
“It was blustery. It was windy, rolling everywhere,” Woods said.
“It was almost like, ‘What else could go wrong?'”
Despite a tough opening 71, he was at risk of missing the cut, but rallied to take charge of his return over the weekend as he chased the sixth Masters crown to tie the record.
“It’s going to be faster, drier, faster and it’s going to be a great test,” Woods said of the weekend.
For his condition, Woods admits, “I don’t feel as good as I want to.”
Woods chipped two feet and tapped par-5 on the eighth birdie, defended par from six feet on the ninth and tapped from three feet on the tenth birdie.
Woods stumbled upon the back-to-back bogies, shrunk from green in par-411 and missed an eight-foot par put, then found a bunker in par-312, shortened green and a Missed. 12-foot per put.
He made a three-foot birdie putt in the 13th par-5 and curled up in the nine-foot birdie putt in the 14th, closing with four straight purses to cut his 22nd consecutive masters.
South African Charles Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion who missed six cuts at the start of his 2022 US PGA, scored 69 for 3-under 141, tied with South Korea’s Im Sung-J, who stumbled on 74, and Ireland’s Shane Lori, who shot 68.
“I never thought about scores,” Schwartzel said. “I did a very good job of staying in the moment and hit every shot where I noticed. I was very disciplined and didn’t hurt myself.”
Despite his struggles, the buzz around the course was with Woods as spectators lined up in every hole to see the 46-year-old legend as he struggled with the pain of walking in a 7,510-yard mountain layout with his surgically repaired right leg.
Rods, plates and pins help keep her on her feet after a few weeks in the hospital and a few months without being able to walk. The rehabilitation work allowed the medical wonder to make an epic comeback in an iconic setting.
Another 73 for McIlroy
Woods only left Chile’s Joaquin Niemann in the third to last group after 2010 British Open champion Louis Ostuizen of South Africa withdrew due to injury.
He missed a seven-foot par put in the first and third holes after a second equal defense from a fairway bunker ants. On the way to the bogie, he misses the green in the fourth par-3 and sends his T-shot straight to the tree on the way to another bogie in the fifth before stopping the slide.
Woods, who moved up to 973rd in the world rankings, could match Jack Nicholas’ all-time Masters win record and break the US PGA winning record of 82 careers with Sam Snead.
Four-time major champion Rory McIlroy, looking for a green jacket to complete his career grand slam, scored a second consecutive 73 to stand at 146. McIlroy has not won a major title since 2014.
Among those dropped were four-time major winner Brooks Koepka and three-time major winner Jordan Spieth on 150th, Tokyo Olympic champion Xander Schaffel on 151st and 2020 US Open winner Bryson Dichambeu on 156th.
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