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Tiger shoots 61, takes 7 shot lead

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It was an exceptional start to an exceptional round.

Tiger Woods began Round 2 of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational birdie-eagle-birdie, a 4-under start on the first three holes. He added another birdie on the par-3 seventh hole, and parred the other holes on the front nine for a score of 5-under 30, which put Woods squarely on “59 watch.”

And forget the huge lead Woods was amassing on the field — three shots at the turn and seven shots at the finish — the world’s No. 1-ranked golfer birdied the first four holes of the back nine, putting himself 9-under through 13 holes. At that point, 59 wasn’t just being whispered about by the Golf Channel’s announcers. “59 Watch” was displayed prominently above the Golf Channel’s logo during television coverage.

Only five men, Stuart Appleby, Paul Goydos, David Duval, Chip Beck and Al Gieberger, have shot rounds of 59 on the PGA Tour, and none of them in a World Golf Championship event or on a course as tough as Firestone Country Club. All Tiger needed was two birdies on Firestone’s last five holes to add to his already gaudy resume. Heck, the way Tiger was going, he might shoot 58!

But the seven-time WGC-Bridgestone Invitational winner couldn’t convert a birdie on any of Firestone’s closing holes. He hit a wayward driver on No. 14, but managed to save par by holing an 8-footer. He had two makeable putts for birdie on Nos. 15 and 17, but the putt on No. 15 didn’t break, and the putt on No. 17 broke too much.

On the final hole, Tiger found the deep rough on the left side of the fairway, forcing him to try to hook an iron shot around and over the trees. But the ball hit a large pine tree and careened  into the trees on the right. It seemed like Woods would make a bogey or worse on No. 18, but he bumped an iron to the back part of the green and holed an improbable par putt to tie his course record of 61 at Firestone.

After the round, Woods said that 59 was not his sole focus on the back nine, because he has achieved the feat before (in informal setting). Coming down the stretch, he said he began to play a bit more conservatively, which led to key putts missing the hole.

Although an inability to make a couple more birdies on the final few holes left him unable to claim the mystical “59,” Tiger’s round of 61 will still go down as one of his more dominant performances on the PGA Tour. Especially for the reason that the next best score on the course in Round 2 was a 66 from John Merrick — five shots higher than Woods’ score.

Woods’ 61 and seven-shot lead is so far his most impressive feat under swing instructor Sean Foley, but as Woods said after the round, “there is still a long way to go.”

Other golfers in the mix

Keegan Bradley and Chris Wood are tied at 6-under after matching rounds of 68, seven shots behind Woods.

Bill Haas and Henrik Stenson are tied for fourth at 5-under, and Jim Furyk, Luke Donald, Jason Dufner and Bubba Watson sit nine shots back of Woods at 4-under, tied for sixth place.

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Brody has proudly been with GolfWRX since July 2012. He is a full time student, but enjoys getting around to writing whenever he has the chance. His interests include Tour coverage, equipment reviews, as well as interviewing figures from within the golf world. Most recently, he spoke with the founder of AimPoint Technologies and coach of Adam Scott and Stacy Lewis, Mark Sweeney.

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. BigBoy

    Aug 3, 2013 at 1:23 am

    its just a Saturday comp for him, easy, but can he now do it again in a major?
    …dont get me wrong, i love it when he’s on song.

  2. Matt C

    Aug 3, 2013 at 12:33 am

    Yeah I agree sick round but a 61 is a 61 not 59 due to conditions…I think Tiger is so sick!!!!

    • Tservos

      Aug 3, 2013 at 8:31 am

      Is “sick” good, and if so, why?

      • christian

        Aug 4, 2013 at 8:04 am

        I really dislike this kind of dumbed down beavis&buthead english..I mean Tiger was “sick”?

  3. TravisLG

    Aug 2, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    I birdied the first two holes of my round today, wonder if thats why the Golf Channel had “59 Watch” above their logo.

  4. Sean

    Aug 2, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    Why would this be posted if folks wanted to watch the replay tonight on Golf Channel? Yes, one could say, “Well, don’t go to a golf website.” But, GolfWRX is very good about spoiler alerts. I’ve already seen the coverage, but perhaps some people haven’t.

    • Matthew Bacon

      Aug 2, 2013 at 7:13 pm

      waaaaaahhh

    • Jordan

      Aug 2, 2013 at 8:50 pm

      Its a golf news site

    • Tservos

      Aug 2, 2013 at 10:29 pm

      I DVR/TIVO’d it and knew not to go to golf site until I watched it.

    • Desmond

      Aug 2, 2013 at 11:27 pm

      Let’s grow up. After a few hours, Tiger’s round is on smart phones, emails, everywhere…

  5. george

    Aug 2, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    61 at firestone under these conditions is a 59

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Tour News

5 things we learned on Sunday of the 2018 U.S. Open

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Opportunity knocked for so many golfers, yet it was the 2017 champion who seized the moment when it was his. Brooks Koepka fired his second sub-par round of the week on Sunday to separate from playing partner Dustin Johnson, and enter the pantheon of multiple major champions. He became the 7th player to defend his title, joining old-school legends like Willie Anderson and John McDermott, mid-century icons like Ralph Guldahl and Ben Hogan, and the last man to accomplish the feat, Curtis Strange. With that introduction, let’s move to the main event, the 5 things we learned on Sunday at Shinnecock Hills.

5) The USGA gave golf a chance

True to its word, the USGA pulled out all the stops in the wee hours of Sunday morn. The course set-up team ensured that enough water was distributed to putting surfaces, that worthy shots would not be punished. Hole locations were assessed and confirmed, also ensuring that multiple opportunities for success were available. As a result, 15 golfers turned in scores under par of 70, highlighted by Tommy Fleetwood’s 7-under stunner. Although many fans, writers and players were quick to assault the organizers for losing control of the course, the USGA reminded us that it always had control of the conditions at Shinny, and that its only mistake was to soar too close to the sun.

4) Captain America ran out of gas

If Patrick Reed had been able to sign his card on the 9th tee, when he stood 5-under on the day and 1-over for the tournament, he would be in a playoff with the eventual champion as I type. Unfortunate for this year’s Masters champion was that 10 holes remained. Reed promptly bogeyed the 9th, added 3 more bogeys on the inward half, and summoned just one birdie toward the end. His fourth-place finish was his best in a U.S. Open, but knowing that victory was in the cards will sting for a while.

3) DJ and Finau gave it a run

Where to begin? How about this: DJ had four bogeys on Sunday. He totaled that many on Thursday-Friday combined. He had birdies, too, but couldn’t find the game that possessed him over the opening 36 holes. Oddly enough, this type of experience won’t be a setback for the 2016 champion. After all, he came back from a career-killer in 2015, when he 3-whacked his way out of a playoff with Jordan Spieth at Chambers Bay. As for Milton Pouhau Finau, aka Tony, the Utah native had never before been in the final group on any day of a major professional championship. He acquitted himself well, standing even on the day and 3-over for T2 at the 18th tee. Knowing that he needed eagle for a playoff might have taken the final winds from his sails, and he limped home with double bogey and solo third. Looking ahead to the final August playing of the PGA Championship, Bellerive near St. Louis might just be his type of course.

2) Tom Terrific nearly made his own U.S. Open history

I’ll write this cautiously, as I’m certain I would have intimated in the 1980s and 90s that Colin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood would have been major champions by now. Tommy Fleetwood ought to win one of these things soon. His record-tying 63 was a short putt away from a record-breaking 62. Eight birdies against a single bogey was the stuff of legend, and if only he had trusted that final putt a bit higher on the break … that’s not fair. Fleetwood right now is the fellow to watch at Carnoustie next month. Bet a few quid or bob or whatever on the Southport native, as he should contend for the title.

1) Brooks cooks up a winning broth

It’s easy to look back and see all the great shots that the defending champion hit over the four days of the 2018 U.S. Open, shots that would win him his second consecutive trophy. Remember that 60-feet bomb to save par on Saturday? Shades of Costantino Rocca. How about the approach shots to within mere feet that earned him 5 birdies on Sunday, including a competition-killer on 16? Koepka was the guy we thought Dustin Johnson would be. Perhaps it was the time off for wrist rehabilitation early this season that gave him the burning desire to win. Out for nearly 4 months, Koepka had plenty of time to ponder what he achieved last June in Wisconsin, and what might lay ahead for him. The begged question is, does the most recent, two-time major winner have the game to acquire more of the game’s cherished trophies?

Related: Brooks Koepka’s Winning WITB from the 2018 U.S. Open

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Wednesday’s Photos from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (par 70; 7,440 yards) in Southhampton, New York. The U.S. Open returns to Shinnecock for the first time since 2004 when Retief Goosen won (he failed to qualify for the 2018 event).

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Phil Mickelson, who has two top-5 finishes at Shinnecock Hills, will seek to fill out his career Grand Slam with a win this week. Also, it’s Tiger Woods’ 10-year anniversary of winning the legendary 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines — that was his most recent major championship victory.

Also in the field are headliners Dustin Johnson (now ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings), Justin Thomas (No. 2), Justin Rose (No. 3), Jon Rahm (No. 4) and Jordan Spieth (No. 5).

Brooks Koepka (No. 9) is the defending champion; he won last year by four shots for his first and only major so far in his career.

Check out our photos from Shinnecock Hills below!

Wednesday’s Galleries

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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Spotted at Shinnecock: #RVLife, superb staff bags, stellar stampings

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We’re on the famed grounds of Shinnecock Hills Golf Club for the second major of the year. With the U.S. Open returned to such a visually and historically rich venue, it may be a bit tough to focus on equipment.

Nevertheless, we spotted some cool stuff, Tuesday, as the players move ever closer to the second major of th eyear.

Let’s get to the photos.

#RVLife propronent, Jason Day’s putter cover is incredible.

Michael Greller displays an essential caddie skill…

Face of Tiger’s wedge. Do these look like standard TaylorMade MG grooves to you?

Greatest side panel on a bag ever?

Who isn’t happy to see “Woods” on USGA tournament signage?

Shintaro Ban’s unique dot stamping is, well, money.

A look at the Bridgestone U.S. Open staff bag and headcovers.

Kenny Perry: Still gaming R7 irons.

Scott Gregory with some solid wedge stamping.

What is this lead taped and war torn beauty?

All our photos from Tuesday

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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