Woods tracking towards record-tying 82nd PGA TOUR winTiger Woods holds a two-shot lead after Round 2 at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP
October 26, 2019
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Tiger Woods takes the solo lead at ZOZO
It was the calm before the storm that came after a mega storm.
Returning to Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club Saturday after almost 10-inches of rain saturated the area on Friday and caused the postponement of the second round, Tiger Woods calmly took control at a quiet ZOZO Championship.
His second straight 6-under 64 pushed the 43-year-old to 12 under par through 36 holes, good enough for a two-shot lead over current U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland.
Woods is of course now well and truly on track to join Sam Snead with a record-tying 82nd PGA TOUR win, a fact that will send returning spectators into a frenzy of epic proportions.
The odds may be in his favor when you take into account the fact Woods has turned 38 of 49 halfway leads/co-leads to victory and on the 33 occasions he was an outright leader, 28 of them ended with wins.
It is incredible considering this is his first tournament of the new 2019-20 season after a nine-week break that included knee surgery.
While the two-time FedExCup champion is accustomed to feeding off huge galleries that create roars at every turn, it was a far different vibe on this occasion.
Safety concerns after the previous days deluge meant PGA TOUR officials kept spectators off the grounds for the second round leaving an eerie silence around the golf course.
Just days after thousands were 20-deep at seemingly every turn the place was a virtual ghost town save for the diehard fans who climbed trees and peered through fences just for a glimpse of their hero.
Woods played as if the crowds were still there. As if on auto pilot he still waved after his seven birdies and provided a little showmanship when walking in some putts. When he encountered those people in the trees behind the fences he couldn’t help but flash them his trademark grin.
“I made a couple putts today and I went to put my hand up and I'm like, don't put your hand up, there's no one clapping, so just move on about your business and just go ahead and keep trying to plug my way up the board, and I was able to do that,” Woods admitted.
“I'm surprised that I was able to score as well as I have; usually that takes a little bit of time. But this golf course is a little bit on the softer side. I've been able to strike my irons pretty well this week so far and that's been nice.
“I left a lot of my approach shots below the hole and I was able to be pretty aggressive, and the greens are a little bit slower than they were yesterday. I had a good feel on the putting green, which was nice. Hit a lot of putts from below the hole and making sure that I put a lot of right hand into it and released it and it felt good all day.”
The third round is scheduled to begin at 6:30 a.m. local time Sunday (5:30 p.m. ET Saturday) with Woods in the last group at 8:30 a.m. (7:30 p.m. ET) along with Woodland and Keegan Bradley (four back). The crowds will be allowed back in and are expected to be at capacity.
The players will not be regrouped after the round and will continue into the fourth round, playing until darkness before the tournament will then conclude on Monday morning.
The prospect of extra holes in one day will put more pressure on Woods recently repaired knee and his surgically fused back. It’s a different kind of storm he needs to weather … fatigue and stiffness.
At one point during the round there was a long wait on the par-5 14th hole forcing some precautionary stretching and ultimately the addition of a vest. All part of the management needed in his game these days.
“It's just going to be a long day,” Woods said of Sunday.
“Eat a lot of food tonight and then tomorrow, same thing, make sure that I eat enough and feel good about my warm‑up session.
“I felt like I hit it a little bit better today … that's nice going into a long day like tomorrow because it's going to be a bit of a test physically and mentally to play for, what, up to 10 hours. Hopefully I can play well and get myself right there.”
Tiger Woods' interview after Round 2 of ZOZO