PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Tiger Woods finally figured out what was going wrong on his last three holes. Now he can only hope it’s not too late to give himself a serious chance in the Honda Classic.
Woods had three birdie putts inside 6 feet. He also hit two shots into the gallery and another one into the water.
His second round ended Friday with consecutive birdies for the first time in three rounds of stroke play, giving him a 2-under 68 that left him at least seven shots back going into the weekend.
“I got it going, lost it, going it going, lost it and then got it going,” Woods said. “It was a little bit of a fight today — probably the worst I’ve hit the ball in months.”
He had another large gallery at PGA National, including a newcomer to the scene — Charlie, his 3-year-old son.
On Thursday, he didn’t give himself many realistic birdie chances while hitting 15 greens. The next day, he was in scramble mode and converted more birdies. It added to a 1-under 139, securing a spot on the weekend.
The scoreboard behind the eighth green — his 17th hole — showed him tied for 71st at 1 over. Woods poured in a 6-foot birdie putt, then hit a shot that covered the flag on the ninth hole and spun back to just over 10 feet for another birdie.
“I didn’t really have it today,” Woods said. “But I scored. That’s something I can take out of the round. I know I putted a lot better today. I finally got putts to the hole, and that was kind of the goal today, not leave one putt short.”
Woods said his game turned around at what looked to be his low point.
After missing birdie putts inside 8 feet on three of his previous holes, he took advantage of a tee shot that hit a spectator right of the fourth fairway with a shot into 6 feet for birdie. Then, he pulled his tee shot into the water on the par-5 fifth — the pin was cut all the way to the right — and took double bogey to fall to 1 over.
His next tee shot sent the gallery scrambling — first to get out of the way, then to find it. Woods carved his approach from the rough over a pair of palm trees and just through the green, chipping weakly to 6 feet but making the par putt.
“I figured something out at the very end, the last four holes, after the tee shot I hit on 6,” he said. “Unfortunately, it took me that long to figure it out. But once I figured it out, I hit some good shots coming in.”
Even so, compared with the rest of the field, he has his work cut out for him on the weekend.
Woods played in the easier morning conditions, when the water on just about every hole at PGA National doesn’t look quite as daunting. He had a 68 on a day when Brian Harman finished with a course-record 61 after a par on the par-5 18th hole.
Three other players, including Graeme McDowell, tied the previous record of 64 Friday before Harman finished up the morning session.
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