August 2 2013
AKRON, Ohio -- Tiger Woods had never shot a 59 at a PGA TOUR event in his legendary career, but he chasied one in Friday's second round of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. When he reached the 14th hole, he was 9 under for his round and needed just to play the last five holes in 2 under. Here's a hole-by-hole loo down the stretch at the par-70 Firestone South course.
QUICK QUOTE FROM TIGER: "I was only 9‑under par, so it's not a feeling that I'm uncomfortable with. When I shot 59 (non-TOUR competition), I was 13 deep at the time, so that's well off where I was today. Nine, I've been there many times, and I've been 10 and 11 before, too. I had a long way to go, so I had, what, five holes to go, still a lot of golf to be played, and anything could have happened. It could have gone either way. I made some nice pars there."
On making the long par putt at 18: "I think making big par putts are bigger than making birdies. It keeps ‑‑ I don't know what it is, but it's that feeling of never dropping a shot. I didn't drop any shots today, and I kept the card clean. Those are nice feelings when you're able to do that, when you're able to keep a card clean like that with no bogeys.
POST-ROUND NOTES: Woods has now shot 61 four times in his career ... Woods hit 9 of 14 fairways; 13 of 18 greens in regulation and needed just 22 putts ... At 13 under for the tournament, Woods -- the seven-time Bridgestone Invitational champ -- has more than doubled the score on his nearest competitors, who are 6 under. ... Interestingly, Woods led by eight strokes in 2000 when he shot his other 61 at Firestone. He went on to win by a tournament-record 11.
Here's hole by hole coverage of Tiger's last five holes in his bid for 59
18TH HOLE (par 4) -- Tiger hits another errant drive, this time down the right side. He's in the trees. Not only does 59 impossible, but birdie looks doubtful and bogey is in play. After much deliberation with caddie Joe LaCava, Tiger decides to play around the trees on the right side. His second shot lands in a patch of dirt just shy of the hospitality tents right of the green. No 59 today. He gets relief from the chalets and likely will need to thread his ball between two trees to get to the green. He pitches out low and his ball bounds past the pin and into the fringe on the far side, 26 feet away. He rolls in the lenghty par putt for 61, tying the course record that he shares and also ties his career low.
17TH HOLE (par 4) - Tiger's drive off the tee leaves him immediately frustrated, as it bounds into the rough down the left side. He did manage to avoid the trees, though. His 9-iron from 154 yards is terrific and he gives himself an excellent birdie opportunity from 6 feet, 7 inches. Matsuyama makes his birdie putt from 7 feet. Tiger, though, can't follow. His ball drifts low and he again has to settle for par. His only chance now is to hole out with his approach shot at the final hole. But if he birdies, it will be a career low, as he's never shot 60 in his PGA TOUR career. His career low is 61 three times.
16TH HOLE (par 5) -- Tiger's drive on the 650-yard par 5 lands in the left side of the fairway after traveling 379 yards. As he contemplates his shot from 268 yards out, Golf Channel flashes the stat that Woods has played the last three holes at 2 under six times in his career. Rain is starting to fall again as Woods lays up to 89 yards with his second shot. He watches playing partner Hideki Matsuyama hit a terrific third shot that lands above the pin and spins back. But Tiger can't match that shot -- his approach is long, as his ball hits the back of the green 40 feet from the pin and only backs up about 10 feet. "First swing we've seen him react to the situation," said Golf Channel analyst Nick Faldo. Woods sends the putt toward the hole, gesturing with his left hand to encourage it to break. It doesn't and he settles for par. If he's going to shoot 59 now, he'll have to finish birdie-birdie -- which he's never done in the same round at Firestone.
15TH HOLE (par 3) -- Woods' tee shot at the 216-yard par 3 stops 9 feet short of the hole. But he left his birdie putt on the high side and had to settle for par. The missed birdie putt was the first putt he missed inside 10 feet this week. Will that come back to haunt him?
14TH HOLE (par 4) -- An errant drive left Woods in the rough down the right side. But he bailed himself out of trouble with a terrific second shot, and two-putted to save par.