Tiger fighting to make cut at PGA comeback event
US golfers Tiger Woods (R) and Jordan Spieth stand on the green during the second round of the Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, June 27, 2014 - by Jim Watson
Woods made a 26-foot birdie putt at the par-5 ninth hole to make the turn two-over par for the day and five over for the tournament, two strokes beyond the projected cut line to the low 60 and those tied.
The clutch putt was the first sign of the shotmaking he would need to reach the weekend and extend the fourth-best active cut streak on the US PGA Tour, now at 26 events.
Woods, a 14-time major winner chasing the all-time record of 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus, fired a three-over 74 Thursday at Congressional Country Club in his first competitive round since undergoing back surgery March 31 to relieve a pinched nerve.
A winner at Congressional in 2009 and 2012, Woods also hosts the $6.5 million tournament that benefits his charity foundation.
In round two, inconsistent Woods struggled to combine good shots off the tee and with the putter on the same hole.
Woods parred the first after finding the right rough off the tee and sank a 12-foot par putt at the par-3 second after missing the green.
Tee-shot troubles continued at three, where he went left and found dirt near a cart path. But Woods put his approach 35 feet from the cup and two-putted for par.
Woods finally found the fairway at the fourth, only to miss a seven-foot birdie putt and make par, and at the fifth Woods needed two shots to escape a bunker fronting the green and took a double bogey.
A great approach at the par-5 sixth left Woods a 60-foot eagle putt but he was 10 feet short, missed from there and settled for par.
Woods chipped seven feet past the cup at the eighth and left his par putt on the edge of the cup, tapping in for a bogey that left him three over the cut line.
At the par-5 ninth, Woods found trees left of the fairway but blasted his approach to 26 feet and drew a roar from the large crowd following him by making the putt.
Almost no one was watching leader Ricky Barnes, who at eight-under was ahead of woods by 13 shots.
Woods, who has not won a major title since the 2008 US Open, had not played competitively until this week since March 9 at Doral, where he fired a 78 for his career-worst final-round score.
The 38-year-old American spent months on rehabilitation and is trying to shake the rust off his game ahead of the British Open in three weeks at Royal Liverpool, where he won the Claret Jug in 2006.
Three weeks after that will come the year's final major tournament, the PGA Championship at Valhalla, where Woods won the PGA crown in 2000.
Woods, who has fallen from first to fifth in the world rankings during his layoff, finished the first round sharing 83rd place.
After stumbling with back-to-back bogeys three times and struggling early with putts during his first round, Woods closed with three birdies in his final six holes and said that his game had improved as the day went on.
Woods, whose 79 career titles are three shy of matching Sam Snead's PGA record, has not won since last August's World Golf Championships event in Akron, Ohio.