Tiger Woods misses island green twice, far back of the lead at The Players
American great Tiger Woods was near the top of the leaderboard at The Players Championship when he stepped up to the 17th hole on Friday, but he proceeded to put two balls in the water to tarnish an otherwise outstanding second round.
Woods ended up shooting a 1-under 71 at the TPC at Sawgrass Stadium course in this southeastern city and is currently at 3-under par, seven shots behind leaders Tommy Fleetwood of England and Brian Harman of the United States.
The 14-time major champion started the day on the back nine and carded birdies at the par-4 12th hole, the par-3 13th and the par-5 16th, looking particularly impressive off the tee at that juncture.
Through 25 holes of the tournament, often regarded as golf’s “fifth major” and the most lucrative event on the PGA Tour calendar (with a $12.5 million purse), Woods was at 5-under par and just two shots out of the lead.
But disaster struck at the tricky par-3 17th, which is known as the Island Green and is TPC at Sawgrass’ signature hole.
Woods landed his first shot on the green, but the ball took a big bounce before rolling off the ledge and into the water.
His third shot was taken from the drop zone and traveled a nearly identical route, also coming in too hot and bouncing into the drink.
On his fifth shot, Woods took a more conservative approach and found the center of the green, but he still needed two putts to get the ball in the hole and card a disastrous quadruple-bogey seven.
The 43-year-old world No. 11 managed to regroup and make two birdies over his final 10 holes, scoring a four on the par-5 second hole and a three on the par-4 seventh.
Woods started missing fairways on his final nine holes but got himself out of trouble with solid approach shots and putting to make the cut, which is projected to be at 2-under.
Another player who stumbled after a great start was South Korea’s Kang Sung-hoon, who was on a pace to tie or even break the course record on Friday until making three bogeys on his final four holes.
Kang moved to 9-under on the day when he rolled in a birdie putt on the par-4 fifth hole (his 14th hole of the day). That came at the end of a torrid stretch in which he made an eagle on the par-5 second before recording three straight birdies.
Had he gone 1-under or better over the final four holes, Kang would have broken the course record of 63 that is shared by eight golfers.
But the world No. 161 ended the day poorly with bogies on the par-4 sixth, the par-3 eighth and the par-5 ninth to card a 6-under 66 in the second round.
He is now 5-under heading into the weekend, five shots behind Fleetwood and Harman.
American Jim Furyk and South Korea’s An Byeong-hun are one shot off the lead at 9-under, while American Kevin Kisner and Australia’s Jason Day are at 8-under.