New Delhi: Tiger Woods said things did not go his way, “partly because of the conditions” and partly because of himself.
Still he managed to pull himself after seeming to be in danger of ending his streak of cuts made at the Masters as he opened the day with four bogeys in first five holes.
Woods made a terrific comeback with four birdies against two more bogeys for a day’s work of 2-over 74 that put him at one-over 145 for 36 holes and kept him inside Top-20 at tied 19th.
After almost a week of suspense on whether or not he would tee or whether his body would hold at the hilly Augusta National Golf Club, Woods took the plunge and returned to competitive golf for the first time since the 2020 Masters, which was held in November.
He later laughed and said, he kept “breaking his body, while his team was fixing it” daily.
Woods had three birdies, two bogeys on the first day, and then had 2-over 74 on a second day when the conditions were very difficult for most of the time except for a brief spell in the evening.
Woods will now play on the weekend at Augusta National for the 22nd consecutive time. His 22-straight made cuts is the third-longest streak in Masters history.
Scottie Scheffler, who rose from being without a PGA Tour win to three in 42 days and rise to World No. 1 showed extraordinary form.
Scheffler played the day’s equal best round alongside Justin Thomas for a 5-under and opened up a five-shot lead over the four-man pack of the defending champion, Hideki Matsuyama (72-69), the 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel (72-69), 2019 Open champion Shane Lowry (73-68) and the 2020 Masters runner-up and overnight leader Korea’s Sungjae Im (67-74).
They were all at 3-under 141.
Some of the notable names missing the cut included Sam Burns, Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka, Xander Schauffele, Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Rose.
Scheffler, who opened the day with a bogey got back that shot on second but gave it back yet again on third. Then came three sets of back-to-back birdies – on seventh and eighth; then 12 and 13 and finally 15 and 16.
Saying he was in a happy space, Scheffler said, “I feel like my game is in a good spot.
“I’ve done a good job managing my way around the golf course the last two days, and I’ve made some really nice up and downs and key putts that have kept my rounds going. I’ve kept my cards pretty clean for the most part, which is nice.” Asked how good he thought his round of 67 was, he added, “To be completely honest, the front nine was such a grind. The wind was crazy. There was some times where we saw the sand blowing up out of the bunkers out there. It was ridiculous.
“I think we were a little bit fortunate that it did die down a little bit towards the end of the day. It was still gusty, but you were able to find some spots where, for instance, on 16 I almost didn’t even play any wind.” Woods admitted being affected by the conditions.
Woods said, “Well, it was windy. It was swirling. Balls were oscillating on the greens. We got a couple of bad gusts. I hit a couple of bad shots. I hit a decent shot at (Hole) 4 that ended up and down in a divot, and it was just like — there were so many things that were not going my way. It was partly the conditions and partly me.
“I told Joey that, hey, we got a lot of holes to play. It’s going to be tough all day, so let’s get it back to even-par for the day somehow. If I can just stay at even-par for the day, I thought that would have been a pretty good comeback. I didn’t quite get there.” “Other than that it was a good fight. I got back in the ball game. But Scottie is running away with it right now. Tomorrow is going to be tough. It’s going to be windy. It’s going to be cool.
“It’s going to be the Masters that I think the Masters Committee has been looking forward to for a number of years. We haven’t had it like this. It’s going to be exciting.” Woods started his second round with a bogey on four of the first five holes. He responded with birdies on the par-5 8th hole and the difficult par-4 10th to start the Back 9.
Woods again dropped shots on No. 11 and No. 12, two of the three holes of “Amen Corner.” Then, as he did earlier in the round, Woods posted birdies at holes 13 and 14, getting him back in contention. He made putts on 15 and 16.
This is Woods’ first official tournament in 509 days since he suffered severe leg injuries in a single-car crash in February 2021.