AUGUSTA, GA – After 18 holes of golf and about several hours of recovering from it, Tiger Woods is playing again in the Masters.
It won’t go the way it did on Thursday.
Woods grabbed four of the first seven holes on Friday, a day after his 71 shot to stand one level below par, and fell sharply down the leaderboard. He fought the sparrows at numbers 8 and 10, then came back again with a ghost at numbers 11 and 12.
However, successive birdies at No. 13 and 14 left Woods one level above par for the championship heading into the final stage of the second round.
Rising young star Scotty Scheffler jumped to the top, firing three under through 14 holes on Friday to put him sixth in the championship.
Woods, who played under 14 months after a car wreck left his leg on the brink of amputation, had anticipated increasing difficulties as the week progressed and his body overcame the stress of the hills at Augusta National Golf Club.
And while most of Woods’ three came on Thursday at noon nine, he had already at least tripled his daily ghost count.
He plays alongside Joaquin Niemann, who joined him on Thursday’s tour. (Shortly before the competition on Friday, Louis Oosthuizen, who played with the men on Thursday, withdrew due to injury.)
At least two players – Charles Schwarzl, who won the Masters title 11 years ago, and Songjae M – will enter play in the weekend triple.
Schwartzel collected 69 on Friday after shooting through Thursday, assisting five birds on his scorecard. His sharpest swing came on the fourth, 240-yard hole, where he made a birdie on Thursday and scored a bogey on Friday.
Despite his improvement from Thursday, Schwarzl declared Friday’s round “difficult,” due in part to the winds hitting the ground, especially around the Amen corner.
“I think anyone would be happy to shoot on an equal footing,” he said. “If you shoot down three times, that’s a bonus, you take some good shots and you make some extra shots.”
Im, who plays in the Masters’ third tournament and tied for a second time on his Augusta National debut, led the field on Thursday at five-under but opened Friday with a bogey on No. 1. His performance settled into the back nine, where he faltered poorly in the numbers 10. and 12, 15 and 18.
Dustin Johnson, winner in 2020 when Im runner-up, slipped on Friday with 73 goals after 69 in the first round. But at less than two, he’ll also enter the weekend as a competitor.
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