DORAL, Fla. (AP) - Tiger Woods, 5 over. Adam Scott, 4 over. Henrik Stenson, 5 over.
Midway through the Cadillac Championship, the top three players in the world ranking aren’t exactly getting the better of Doral. Then again, that’s no indictment of the signature trio over the tournament’s first two days, either.
Grouped together for the opening two rounds, Nos. 1-2-3 were tied for 25th, 21st and 25th, respectively. They combined for 24 birdies, 20 bogeys and nine double-bogeys through the first 36 holes, playing to a combined 14 over that would seem to hardly befit players of this pedigree.
Quite the contrary. Come Saturday, they’ll still be very much in the hunt.
“We’ve all got a shot at it now,” Woods said.
Between putting balls in the water - which they all did at least once Friday, Woods doing so four times and finding a way to laugh about it afterward - and fighting off frustration on a day where 30 mph wind blew steadily across Trump National Doral, the trio found a way to hang around.
Which, frankly, was what Friday was all about. There was a four-way tie for the lead at 1 under, and none of those players shot better than 74 in the second round.
“I shot 1 over,” Scott said when the grind of the second round was finally complete. “I think that’s a pretty good score. I mean, I would have said anything even is a fantastic score today. I think I get a pass for 1 over this afternoon. I’m giving myself a pass. You guys can figure it out.”
Woods had perhaps the signature highlight of the day, a rare moment of good luck.
Woods watched a 90-foot putt on the par-3 fourth hole roll over a knoll, split a couple small dustings of sand, pick up just enough speed and find its way into the cup. He threw up his hands, flashed his signature grin and then waved nonchalantly as if to say, “How did that happen?”
Well, how did that happen?
“You know, it’s just one of those things,” Woods said. “You just try to get the ball close. I can’t remember the last time I made a putt from that far. It was just one of those things.”
It was the longest holed putt in a PGA Tour event in more than three years, according to the tour’s stat archive. And it helped fuel what became a more-than-respectable 73 from Woods, who was over par only three times in his first 39 completed rounds at Doral, yet hasn’t finished in red numbers in either 18 he has played in the week.
Still, only seven players topped Woods’ second-round score, even with him being in the water thrice.
“You’ve just got to hang around,” Woods said. “You just never know. … No one is going anywhere.”
Stenson got into trouble on his first swing of the second round, finding water on the par-5 10th to start what he said was an array of missteps that he estimated winding up costing him at least three shots in very short order.
Even after a 76, he’s hardly out of things.
“Who said we weren’t mentally tired?” Stenson said.
If they were, Woods, Scott and Stenson hid it well.
“I just kind of lost the patience with myself,” Stenson said. “Made double straightaway and was scrambling and fighting all the way around, then made some stupid tactical mistakes and felt like I just wanted to get in the clubhouse. Bogeyed six and seven, then somehow made birdies on eight and nine, and here we are.”
Woods said his back was aching a bit after the round, no surprise since it caused him to pull out of the final round of the Honda Classic on Sunday, and given the fact that his group played 26 holes Friday.
There were some shots he wanted to have back, some where he got just unlucky - a 3-wood that split the fairway on the par-5 eighth hole wound up getting blown into the water - and the one putt where he got particularly lucky. And when it was over, he was asked which hole at Trump’s redesigned Doral was the toughest.
“One through 18 right now,” Woods said. “For me, yes. I don’t know about the other players, but I found all of them pretty hard out there today.”
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