As Tiger Woods changed into making his stirring overdue fee up a bunched Masters leaderboard Friday, he turned into chasing an impressive forged of rivals that blanketed six most important golf championship winners.
Any person of them may want to have tripped up Woods’s run on the lead as the match reached its halfway factor.
As an alternative, for one alarming second, it appeared that a stumbling security official at Augusta national golf club would possibly derail Woods’s most memorable Masters surge in years.
After Woods hit a shot out of the bushes left of the 14th hole, a sprinting uniformed guard, who become seeking to manipulate the gang just at the back of Woods, slipped on moist grass and slammed into Woods’s right ankle. Woods recoiled and limped ahead, hopping on his left foot several instances before regaining his footing.
but Woods, who grimaced however in no way looked back, saved striding toward the inexperienced. In fact, the episode appeared to spur him to extra heights.
With the galleries around him cheering wildly, Woods birdied the 14th and fifteenth holes, and he had preference possibilities inside the last holes to vault into the lead. while those birdie putts slid beyond the hollow, Woods nonetheless controlled a 4-under-par sixty eight and a two-day score of six under that left him a shot off the tournament lead shared through 5 golfers.
Jason Day, Brooks Koepka, Adam Scott, Francesco Molinari and Louis Oosthuizen — all major winners — were tied at seven underneath.
After his round, Woods played down the collision with the security reputable.
With a smile, Woods said: “accidents appear, and you flow on. I’ve had galleries run over me. when you play in the front of plenty of humans, things show up. however it’s all desirable.”
Woods insisted he turned into not injured in the twist of fate, which regarded a bit like a base runner seeking to take out an infielder at 2nd on a double-play strive.
when pressed on whether or not he become bodily sound for the Masters’ weekend rounds, Woods grinned and spoke back: “Yeah, aside from having four knee surgeries and four lower back surgical procedures, I’m quality. properly to head.”
On a day while maximum of the top ratings have been produced with the aid of golfers teeing off within the morning, with the sun out, Woods’s ascent up the leaderboard as an night rainstorm sopping wet the golf route was some thing of a surprise.
At one point, it seemed the bad weather may want to undermine Woods, as play changed into suspended simply after he hit his tee shot to the menacing twelfth inexperienced, approximately 5 ft behind the hole.
whilst play resumed 29 minutes later, Woods, who admitted he grew stiff during the postpone, overlooked the birdie putt. Then his short birdie putt on the thirteenth hole stopped an inch in the front of the hole’s middle. on the time, Woods changed into stuck at four under for the match.
“I had some possibilities move the wrong way, but I wasn’t too bummed about it due to the fact I additionally hit plenty of really correct photographs,” Woods stated later. “So i used to be nevertheless confident.”
indeed, Woods became at his scrambling quality, reaching 16 of 18 vegetables in law no matter lacking half of the fairways at the 14 par-four and par-five holes.
He missed a 7-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole and a 15-footer on the very last hollow. converting both of them might have put him in a tie for the lead.
later on, Woods couldn’t resist stressing that he has now been a contender in 3 consecutive essential golf championships, consisting of last year’s British Open and P.G.A. Championship.
“I felt superb accessible doing what i was doing, and so now that is three straight majors that I’ve been within the mix,” he stated. “So it’s good stuff.”
maximum of the attention early Friday became on Molinari, which changed into uncommon due to the fact he’s not often protected inside the featured groupings of pinnacle golfers selected by way of tournament officers. And while Molinari turned into shooting a bogey-unfastened sixty seven, he toured Augusta country wide in large part unrecognized.
however Molinari, the reigning British Open champion, the world’s 7th-ranked golfer and a winner simply ultimate month on the PGA excursion, does now not appear perturbed with the aid of the disregard.
“There’s manifestly masses of wonderful gamers in golf right now; I assume I’m getting the eye that I deserve,” stated Molinari, who played Friday with Tyrrell Hatton and Rafa Cabrera-Bello. “So I’m glad to move about my commercial enterprise and preserve gambling properly golf.”
Molinari’s climb into golf’s higher echelon, but, may additionally quickly be impossible to miss, even on American soil.
Day additionally shot sixty seven as he moved into a tie for the lead. Koepka cooled off barely after Thursday’s round of sixty six, taking pictures 71. Scott looked as if he could have the midway lead all to himself until his putter allow him down and he bogeyed the 16th hollow. Oosthuizen, who regularly performs properly on the Masters, charged with a 33 on the back 9.
Dustin Johnson, the world’s second-ranked golfer and some other principal champion, completed a stroke at the back of the leaders at the side of Justin Harding, a Masters rookie from South Africa.
in the long run, it turned into Molinari who played the most continually, making 5 birdies and 13 pars.
Molinari first participated in the Masters in 2006 because the caddie for his brother, Edoardo, who certified as the united states beginner champion. that is his 8th pass-round as a participant, and it has been an exhausting procedure to make himself comfy at Augusta national. Molinari is 24 over par inside the 26 rounds he has performed, and he has shot seventy five or better 8 instances, inclusive of an eighty one in 2013.
Even caddying for his brother changed into “a chunk of a nightmare,” Molinari stated Friday.
“It’s no longer first-rate amusing to caddie round right here,” he said. “i’m able to inform you that. I cherished being right here, however it’s simply so difficult.”
Slowly, Molinari has acclimated. It has now not hurt that he has performed the first-rate golf of his profession within the ultimate 14 months, consisting of a star flip at the Ryder Cup in September. Over his ultimate four rounds at Augusta countrywide, Molinari is 10 beneath par.
maximum of the development has been in his setting at the disturbing Augusta country wide greens, which require a unique knowledge of subtle contours and topography.
requested to explain what he had achieved to come to be a better putter, Molinari snickered.
“I’ve changed pretty plenty everything that you can think of,” he stated, explaining that he had altered his posture, putter course and tempo. He has additionally changed putters and putter form.
Molinari stated his putting overhaul might have been more sweeping handiest if he switched from a proper-passed stance to a left-surpassed one. He needed simply 25 putts on Friday as he moved into a proportion of the lead.
“There’s an extended manner to go yet, but I’m satisfied and doing better than in the beyond right here,” he said. “hopefully i’m able to hold doing the identical.”
the arena’s pinnacle-ranked player, Justin Rose, shot four over through Friday and overlooked the reduce.