Slowed by a struggling putter, Tiger Woods didn’t make a birdie until his 14th hole on Thursday at the Quicken Loans National, but he wasted little time on Friday.
Woods birdied two of the first three holes of his second round and caught fire after the turn, shooting a five-under 65 to jump back into contention at the tournament his foundation runs.
Woods made two birdies and a double bogey en route to an even-par 70 on Thursday and was seven strokes off the lead. Starting on the back nine on Friday he began birdie-bogey-birdie, and his made birdie putts totaled 43 feet in length.
He made strides with his new TaylorMade Ardmore 3 mallet putter, which he switched to this week. Even though he didn’t hole as many putts on Thursday he said he was “very committed” to keeping the mallet in the bag.
“I hit the line I wanted, and I hadn’t done that in a while,” Woods said Thursday.
He finished 92nd in Stroke Gained: Putting (-1.198) in Round 1, but when he finished in the early wave on Friday was three strokes better in Round 2 (4th, 2.043).
Woods made a 16-footer for birdie on 15 but gave the stroke back with a three-putt bogey on 17. He chipped in for birdie on 18 to make the turn in two-under 33.
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Woods made up more ground on the front nine. He had a tap-in two-putt birdie on the par-5 2nd, drained a 26-footer for birdie on 3 and added a kick-in birdie from short range on 5.
When he finished he was tied for 11th and four off the lead, and with a Saturday tee time safely secured.