Live Blog: Tiger Woods second round at Buick Open

Alan Bastable, senior editor at GOLF Magazine, live blogged Tiger Woods's 63 on Friday at the Buick Open. Leaderboard | More updates on Twitter | Join SI GOLFNation

12:53 p.m. After a jarring respite at Turnberry, Woods is back where he's most comfortable — near the top of the leader board. But is he really back back? Warwick Hills ain't Southern Hills, or any other major site for that matter. Woods remains majorless since his heroics at Torrey Pines, and questions about the knee, his new Haney-styled swing and even his confidence will linger until he gets it done at one of the big four. His next chance: two weeks from now at the PGA. Stay tuned, and thanks for tuning in today. Enjoy your weekend... 12:47 p.m. A good effort, but a couple feet long. Woods makes his 4 and shoots a 9-under 63. That's not normally big news in Tiger's World, but after the inconsistency he fought in his three prior rounds, it's certainly a sign that he may have figured some things out. 12:41 p.m. He's got some work to do at 18. He hit his approach hole high left, but has some 30 feet for his bird.12:39 p.m. What's been the difference for Woods today? Just about everything. He's hitting fairways (71% of them) and greens (83 percent). And he's putting with his usual steel, averaging just 1.5 rolls per green.  12:35 p.m. Seems he hit a fairway wood off the tee, knocking it 267 yards to the right side of the fairway. He has 164 to the jar. 12:31 p.m. The ninth is a 434-yard par-4 that has played as the fifth toughest hole this week. Woods parred it Thursday. He has to be thinking birdie today.12:28 p.m. He rolls it in. That's two straight birdies, dropping him to 10-under for the tournament. If Tiger can birdie the ninth, he'll card a 10-under 62 ... and justify our live blog. (Well, almost.)12:22 p.m. Pured it. Tiger knocks his approach to 11 feet at the 199-yard par-3 8th. He's no doubt licking his chops.  12:19 p.m. Good thing Tiger made a run today. The names ahead of him: Letzig (-12), Vaughn Taylor (-11), and Kevin Stadler (-10). Tied with Woods at 9-under are Troy Matteson and Mark Brooks. CBS can exhale. 12:15 p.m. Drained it. He moves to 9-under.12:14 p.m. Tiger pitches to six feet at the 7th. He's made a lot of putts today, but missed some short ones, too. Can't afford to lip this one out—a par on this shortish par-5 is like a bogey.12:11 p.m. There's no official word yet that will be the last Buick Open but all signs point that direction. I don't know much about Warwick Hills, but the players, the Detroit Free Press reported, will miss it. 

"We really thrive in those small-medium size cities," said Jim
Furyk, who won in 2003. "You can feel a sense in the crowd because it's
a big deal around those towns."

Sometimes, this even includes running into some of the same fans and marshals year after year.

love traditional golf. I love old golf courses," said Woody Austin, the
1995 winner. "You get courses like this when the guys can't hit it up
over the trees and they actually have to hit golf shots, which they're
not comfortable with."
12:06 p.m. Nope, Woods can't get home, but he leaves himself a good angle into the left-side hole location. He's about 30 yards short of the green. 12:01 p.m. Tiger misses the fairway left at the 584-yard par-5 7th. Assuming his lie is decent, shouldn't have much trouble getting home from there. It wouldn't be a Tiger blog without some Phil chatter. Reader Ryan reminds us: "In
addition to the 59s you mentioned, don't forget Phil Mickelson shot a
59 in the Grand Slam of Golf in '04. While not an official tournament,
it was still a 59." Indeed. I can't shoot 59 in mini golf.
11:55 a.m. At the par-4 6th, Woods hits another fairway and fires another approach close — to 11 feet. But his putter has cooled off. Two putts from there means another par.11:51 a.m. Michael Letzig has grabbed the solo lead at 12-under. A reader asks how low Woods will need to go to bag his third Buick Open title (he won here in '02 and '06). Of the last 10 winners, only one has been above 270 for the week (Kenny Perry shot 269 en route to victory last year). If Woods shoots, say, 64 today, that'll be 135 for the first two rounds. Figure if he can replicate that feat over the weekend (or ideally shoot a couple shots better), he should at least be in the hunt. And when Tiger's in the hunt, well, you know what usually happens.  11:43 a.m. Woods two-putts for his par at the fifth. Ugh...11:42 a.m. He needs to birdie in to shoot 60. If he pars his way home, he shoots 65 and I become the proud author of "The Tiger Woods Shoots 65 at the Buick Open (But It Could Have Been Much, Much Better) Live Blog." 11:38 a.m. Tiger "Iron Byron" Woods finds yet another fairway at the par-4 5th. His approach flies over the stick and he'll have about 30 feet for his birdie.11:32 a.m. CORRECTION—Woods needed two putts from 30 feet at the fourth. He made par and remains at 8-under in a tie for seventh place. Mea culpa. 11:27 a.m. Most stunning stat about Woods's back-nine 30? It was three strokes shy of the tournament record set by Billy Mayfair in 2001. Bet Billy didn't have his own live blog. Poor guy.11:22 a.m. Woods leaves himself 30 feet for birdie at the 4th. Tiger has never missed two consecutive cuts as a professional. But with his shabby play at Turnberry and his listless 71 in yesterday's first round, that once-unthinkable thought didn't seem so nutty. There's no question he's playing with renewed confidence today, hitting 70 percent of his fairways and more than 3 in every 4 greens. 11:15 a.m. Reader Brian says: "Thanks for the impromptu blog. It makes wasting away in this tomb referred to as a cube almost bearable." That makes two of us, Brian. Tiger hits another fairway at the par-4 4th. He has 112 yards left to the hole.  11:12 a.m. It took that jinx all of about 15 seconds to kick in. Woods rams his birdie try at No. 3 three feet past the hole and makes the comebacker for par. He remains at 8-under.11:10 a.m. Is it too early to start talking about 59? Yes. Am I going to do it anyway? Heck, yes! Three players have accomplished the feat on the men's tour, and you have to believe before Woods’s career is over, his name will find its way onto this list. —Al Geiberger: 1977 Memphis Classic (29-30), Colonial Country Club (par 72)—Chip Beck: 1991 Las Vegas Invitational (30-29), Sunrise Golf Club (par 72)—David Duval: 1999 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic (31-28), PGA West (Palmer Course) (par 72)11:06 a.m. Beautiful tee shot to six feet at the 187-yard par-3 third. I'm picking up a distinct scent of eau de birdie.11:03 a.m. Tiger’s had more just a blazing putter and pin-seeking irons today. At the par-4 14th, he drove the green with a 320-yard tee shot. Maybe he should have hit driver more at Turnberry?11:01 a.m. Woods tugs his approach 8 yards left of the green at No. 2. He then chips to five feet and cleans up his par. 10:54 a.m. He splits the fairway at the par-4 second, leaving himself 164 to the hole. 10:53 a.m. This is a stunning reversal from Woods, who shot 71 yesterday and called it  “probably one of the worst putting days I've ever had.” From the get-go he’s looked like a new man. At No. 10, he drained a 9-footer; at 11, he made a 6-footer; and at 13, he made another 9-footer. Just the confidence-boosting start he needed. 10:44 a.m. Woods two-putts from 25 feet at the par-5 first for another birdie. That takes him to 7-under for the day and 8-under for the tournament. The leader, Vaughn Taylor, is at 12-under.  10:40 a.m. Here’s how Woods blitzed the back side. Starting at the par-4 10th, he went birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie, or 3-2-2-4-3. His eagle came after a 309-yard drive and a pitch-in from 33 yards. He parred the par-4 15th, but quickly followed with another birdie at the 16th, a par 5. A par-bogey finish on 17 and 18 left him with a 30. Memories of Woods’s 71-74 at the British already seem distant. 10:38 a.m. Thanks for joining us for this impromptu, special edition live blog session. The occasion: Tiger Woods looks like Tiger Woods again. During this morning’s second round of the Buick Open at Warwick Hills G&CC in Michigan, Woods posted a 6-under-par 30 on his first nine holes courtesy of five birdies and an eagle 2. Woods’s career low round on the PGA Tour is 61, so he’s on pace for history. Keep it tuned to to follow the action, shot by thrilling shot.

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by Kevin Cunningham