Tiger Woods weathered the heatwave sweeping through the greater D.C. area and played his way into contention at Congressional Country Club on Friday morning, firing a respectable three-under 68 (which was probably the highest score he could have shot) for a two-under 36-hole total.
Woods, who teed off on No. 10, kick-started his round with an eagle on the par-6 No. 16, ramming a 48-foot putt in the center of the cup.
From a statistical standpoint, Thursday and Friday look pretty similar — he hit 7 of 14 fairways and 11 of 18 greens both days. He needed two less putts in the second round with 27. However, the stats don’t do his play justice. On Nos. 10 and 18, Woods was just off the green on the fringe.
In the U.S. Open-like conditions — sans the USGA’s graduated rough setup — you’re more than likely in deep doo-doo if you’re in the hay.
“It’s playing like an Open, it really is,” said Woods, who had the advantage of playing in the morning and finishing before 1pm. “It’s quick, it’s dry.
Woods missed the short grass off the tee on Nos. 14 and 15, leaving him with awful lies in the gnarly grass. He had no choice but to punch out and lay up, where he then was able to make two beautiful up-and-downs.
”The pars at 14 and 15 were something I needed to have happen,” he said. “I hit two good wedge shots in there after two poor drives and gave myself a couple good looks, made those, and then I rewarded all that hard work at the next hole with an eagle.”
The tees were up on Nos. 9, 12 and 18 — which, as Tiger said, will help Friday’s scoring average — and pushed back on No. 15. Otherwise, Congressional is baring its teeth for a second day in the row, along with the sweltering temperatures.
The hottest point of the day came at 4pm ET, where it reached 100 degrees with a heat index of 109.
No problem for Tiger, who is physically fit.
“That’s why I train, that’s why I run all those miles,” said Tiger when asked to discuss the most challenging part of the heat. “If you’re carrying a little bit of body fat, it’s going to be a little insulation out there. This is when fitness does help, and I figured that’s one of the reasons why I’ve had the success I’ve had in the elements.”
Meanwhile, Brendon de Jonge, who isn’t the most athletic specimen on Tour, is five-under, trailing 36-hole leader Hunter Mahan by two shots. I wonder what de Jonge’s secret is!
Heading into the weekend, Woods is tied for 11th.
Pardon the interruption. I just
rolled sprained my ankle really badly. They gotta take me to the paramedics. Ugh. Now I gotta go to the ER for x-rays. Jokes welcome.
(Getty Images/Rob Carr)