Tiger Woods fired a 1-over par 73 Friday in the second round of the WGC Cadillac Championship at Doral, and is 6 shots in back of the leaders heading into the final two rounds. Dustin Johnson, Hunter Mahan, Matt Kuchar and Patrick Reed share the lead at minus-1.
All but six players had to complete first-round play on Friday after a two-and-a-half hour rain delay caused the first round to be suspended due to darkness. Woods finished his first round at 76 and followed it with a second round of 73, a number that would improve his position on the scoreboard. With winds whipping the Blue Monster into frenzy, scores in the 60s were non-existent. None of the four leaders could do better than 74.
Woods had 5 bogeys and 4 birdies, highlighted by a 91-foot birdie putt on the 203 yard par-3 fourth hole. It was Woods’ 13th hole of the day, as he had started on the back nine. He would go on to birdie the fifth hole too, then par in for his 73.
Australian Adam Scott, who has a chance to move up to first in the World Golf Rankings with a win and a sixth-place finish or lower by Tiger, is one shot ahead of Woods at 4-over. Scott, who played in the same group with Tiger, played his first nine at 2-over but birdied three of his last five holes to equal Tiger at 73 for the day.
Among the leaders, Hunter Mahan had the most interesting day. Starting on the back nine, Mahan was level par after nine holes. After three pars to begin his second nine, he got a triple bogey on the par-3 fourth hole, then a bogey at 7. He came back nicely, though, and eagled the par-5 eighth hole, and finished at 74. Dustin Johnson looked to be running away with it on his back nine, but bogeys on three of the last five holes backed him into the 4-way tie at minus-1.
For Phil Mickelson it was a day of fighting back. Even though he finished the day tied with Woods and seven others 6 shots behind, he almost shot himself out of the tournament in the first four holes. After a par on number one, Lefty ran off a string of 3 straight double bogeys, ballooning to a total of 8-over. “Phil the Thrill” then followed that up with two straight birdies, finishing with a 4-over 40 on the front nine. Three more birdies and two more bogeys on the back nine got him to 74 for the day, 5-over for the championship. It was the first time Mickelson has ever had three straight double bogeys in a professional tournament.
Only seven players scored better than Tiger’s 73 on Friday, and on a day when Doral’s water hazards claimed 103 balls, it might have been an understatement when Woods called it a “tough golf course today.” Asked which one of the holes was toughest, he said they were “all pretty hard” for him. Tiger Woods is happy to be within 6 shots of the lead halfway through the Cadillac Championship and said the plan was to “hang around” into the weekend.
By Chuck Podhaisky