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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

Tiger Woods fires second-round 76, will miss Genesis Open cut

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Tiger Woods’ trip to Los Angeles is over sooner than he’d hoped. Woods fired a 5-over 76 during the second round of the Genesis Open to miss the presumed cut at Riviera by four strokes (the second round won’t be completed until Saturday morning due to darkness).

Hopes were high Woods would continue to build on a T-23 finish at the Farmers Insurance Open. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, as the driving woes that plagued him at Torrey Pines followed him to the Riv, despite changing shafts in his TaylorMade M3.

RELATED: Tiger Woods WITB

Wayward off the tee, Woods made eight bogeys Friday, unable to grind out a decent score as he did with his opening-round 1-over 72. He was unable to rely on his putter the way did in this first round, three-putting back-to-back holes (No. 11 and 12). A stretch of three straight bogeys sunk Woods’ hopes of hanging around for the weekend.

(c/o PGATour.com)

We won’t have to wait long to see the Big Cat back in action, however, as Woods committed to next week’s Honda Classic at PGA National in Florida. Woods most recently put a peg in the ground at the course in 2014, where he ultimately withdrew due to back spasms.

The 79-time PGA Tour winner hasn’t teed it in back-to-back weeks since 2015, so while fans may not be encouraged by his play, at least he continues to be free from any issues with his surgically repaired back.

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Tiger Woods shoots an opening-round 72 (1-over) at the 2018 Genesis Open

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After hitting just 17 fairways all week at the 2018 Farmers Insurance Open, where he finished T23, Tiger Woods switched driver shafts and added 0.75 degrees of loft in his TaylorMade M3 driver ahead of the 2018 Genesis Open this week. He went from using a Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 70TX shaft, to a Matrix TP6HDe shaft — he used a TP7HDe shaft back in 2015.

So how did the switch work out for him at Riviera CC on Thursday?

Well, he hit driver 9 times during his round of 72 strokes; four went right — one of which got lost in a tree and he had to re-tee — one went left, and four found the fairway. He hit 8-of-14 fairways in total; no Fred Funk, but an improvement. Woods’ bigger issue on Thursday, actually, was that he hit only 7 greens in regulation, leaving himself a few tricky up-and-downs. Despite hitting only 38 percent of greens, Woods managed to make 5 birdies, and he continues displaying prowess on the greens (1.784 Strokes Gained Putting, and 82 feet worth of putts made).

He also showed some flashes of old Tiger with Arnie-esque follow through.

Of course, that means he missed the fairway way right, and he did go onto bogey the hole, but the shot made for some excitement on golf twitter, at least.

According to @RandallMellGC, Tiger described his round in a post-round interview: “I fought hard. I made a few simple, silly mistakes, bad shots here and there, missed on the wrong side, made a few birdies as well. 1-over’s not bad.”

Yea, that’s about right.

Tiger currently sits at T66, and six shots off the leader. Lots of golf to play, but he’ll likely be contending with the cutline come Friday afternoon. How do you think Tiger will finish this week at the 2018 Genesis Open?

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Tour News

Bill Haas injured in fatal car crash in Los Angeles

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Bill Haas was involved in a fatal car crash in Pacific Palisades, Calif., site of the Genesis Open, Tuesday night.

The 35-year-old was riding in the passenger seat of a Ferrari driven by a member of the family with whom Haas is staying this week. According to LA County fire officials, the Ferrari collided with a BMW driven by a 50-year-old woman. Haas and the driver of the BMW were transported to a local hospital. The 71-year-old male driver of the Ferrari was pronounced dead on the scene.

The Ferrari also reportedly “clipped” a vehicle driven by actor Luke Wilson prior to the rollover. Wilson was not injured, per a police report.

Per PGATour.com, Bill Haas’ manager, Allen Hobbs of Players Group Management, released the following statement Wednesday morning.

“Last night in Pacific Palisades, California, Bill Haas was involved in a serious car accident in which the driver—a member of the family with whom Haas and his family were staying for the Genesis Open—was killed. While Bill escaped serious injuries and has been released from the hospital, he is understandably shaken up and—more importantly—his deepest condolences go out to the host family during this tragic and difficult time.“

“Bill will withdraw from the Genesis Open and plans to head home to Greenville to recover. He appreciates the support of friends, family and the golf world as a whole, and he has asked for privacy as he processes what has happened.“

Geoff Shackelford tweeted this video of the KTLA coverage of the crash.

Bill Haas’ father, Jay, spoke with Todd Lewis on Golf Channel’s morning drive earlier in the day, saying his son was “very fortunate.” Beyond swelling in one of his legs and pain, Haas sustained no serious injuries, according to his father.

See the discussion in the forums here

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