HE LOOKED like the Tiger Woods of old. Wild tee shots sprayed onto opposite holes, bold recovery shots from thick rough, scrambling around the greens for crucial par saves, and all in front of enormous crowds.
But after two rounds of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines near San Diego, Woods made his first cut on the US PGA Tour since August 2015. Since then, the chronically injured 42-year-old has played just one official US Tour event and last year spent 10 months on the sidelines recovering from spinal fusion surgery.
Saturday, the 14-time major winner backed up his opening 72 with a one-under- par 71 on Torrey Pines’ North course, scraping inside the 36-hole cut on the number.
“It was a grind; I fought hard,” said Woods.
“It was typical, you know; just me going out there and fighting for whatever I can get,” said the man, whose eight wins at Torrey Pines include the 2008 US Open.
Woods sits 10 shots back of leader Ryan Palmer, who shot a 67 to climb to 11 under.
Palmer now takes a one-shot lead into Saturday’s third round over world No. 2 Jon Rahm (66) — the tournament’s defending champion.
A horrible display from the tee saw Woods hit just three of 14 fairways and he spent most of the day hacking the ball out of Torrey Pines’ notoriously thick rough.
Woods hit nine of 18 greens but after making the turn at two over, Woods rallied with four birdies and a bogey to advance to the weekend rounds in a tie for 65th.
It is a miracle Woods is under par.
But the California native says it’s a sign his ability to score is returning having not played a full-field tournament worldwide since withdrawing from the Dubai Desert Classic last February.
“I just fought hard, that’s something that I’ve done my entire career and this is no different” said Woods.
“It was tough out there; the greens are firm and some of these pin locations, they’re a little tough to get at.”
DAY MAKES HIS MOVE WITH ERROR-FREE ROUND
Jason Day is on course to repeat his winning history at Torrey Pines after a stunning second-round fightback placed him well in contention going into the closing rounds of the Farmers Insurance Open.
The Australian former world No.1 answered his sloppy opening 73 with a bogey- free, eight-under-par 64 on the North course and with a seven under total Day now sits just four shots back of leader Ryan Palmer (67).
“The front side I needed to get off to a good start and that was crucial,” said Day, who rocketed up the leaderboard with six birdies on his front nine. At 11 under, Palmer will take a one-shot lead into Saturday’s third round over world No.2 Jon Rahm (66), who is the tournament’s defending champion and is coming off a runner-up and a victory in his past two US PGA Tour events. Day opened the 2015 Torrey Pines event with almost the same scores – 73, 65 – before winning in a sudden-death playoff.
And he’s feeling similarly good vibes going into the third round. “Everything is shaping up nicely; I drove it great toda,y which gave me a lot of opportunities, and then I putted well,” said Day.
Day’s 73 on Thursday was his first competitive round since coughing up the final round lead at the Australian Open in November.
But he puts it down to rust and says he’s buoyed by the fact Torrey Pines’ difficult South course, on which the final two rounds are played, should stop anyone running away with the tournament.
“The positive of the first round was I made five birdies on the South course, which are tough to come by, and I just mixed it with some rough and silly errors due to being a bit rusty,” said Day.
“I’m looking forward to it because I feel like I’m doing everything correctly.”