Tiger Woods trails by 1 at PGA Championship
AP Sports Writer
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – Tiger Woods’ uphill chip rolled gently toward the hole before stopping right on the edge of the cup.
After waiting a bit, he walked over, tapped the ball in with his wedge and walked away with a smile.
So close to a vintage Tiger highlight.
Woods led briefly at the PGA Championship in strong wind Friday before falling back behind Carl Pettersson during the second round. Woods putted beautifully across the Kiawah Island greens, making birdies at Nos. 2, 4 and 12. A bogey at the par-3 eighth was the only blemish on his front nine.
Through 12 holes, he was at 5-under par, a stroke behind Pettersson.
Woods is trying for his 15th major championship and first since 2008.
It was his putter that put him atop the leaderboard, albeit not for long. Woods made an 18-footer to save par on No. 3, and his birdie putt from about 40 feet on the following green dropped in as well.
Woods needed only nine putts through the first seven holes. He’s also swinging pretty well. Woods’ tee shot on the par-5 second carried so far it came to rest in an area where fans were walking across the fairway at the time. He reached the green in two and made a birdie.
On No. 9, his chip nearly dropped for a birdie. One hole later, his luck was a bit better when his 3-footer for par rolled all the way around the lip before falling in.
Pettersson, the first-round leader, started on the back nine Friday and made a couple early bogeys, but he rebounded. On No.1, he flubbed his approach into the sand, but holed out from there for a birdie to go to 6 under.
Vijay Singh shot a 3-under 69 and was in third place at 4 under. In the morning, many players were just trying to survive with the wind whipping around the course. The 49-year-old Singh hasn’t won on the PGA or European tours since 2008, but after finishing tied for ninth at last month’s British Open, he figures to be in solid position heading into this weekend.
At one point, Singh, Phil Mickelson (71) and Michael Hoey (70) were the only players with completed second rounds under par.
“It’s one of the tougher conditions I’ve ever played, and put this golf course in the middle of all that, it becomes even more brutal,” Singh said. “I would have taken 72 when I started off.”
The past 16 majors have been won by 16 different players.
Singh’s last major title was the PGA Championship in 2004, and he’s been solid so far this week. He began moving up the leaderboard Friday with birdies on three of the first seven holes.
“I just started believing that I can do it,” Singh said. “I was so negative for a long, long time. I had great sessions on the driving range and just couldn’t take it on the golf course. I finally started to believe that I could do what I’m doing on the driving range.
“A little tweak to my golf swing during the British Open kind of helped, as well.”
After mostly calm conditions for the opening round, players returned to find flags blowing stiffly in the wind and some threatening clouds hanging low. It eventually began raining, but there were no delays early in the second round.
“You have to challenge and take on the crosswinds,” Mickelson said. “We had about a five- or 10-minute spurt there where the wind just started gusting 35 or so and it started raining.”
Despite the elements, Mickelson was hanging around at even par through 36 holes.
Alex Noren wasn’t so fortunate. He started the day at 5 under, a shot out of the lead, before shooting 80. Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano was also a shot behind Pettersson after one round. He bogeyed his first two holes Friday en route to a 78.
“It’s playing tough in this wind, especially,” Fernandez-Castano said. “During the round, I was trying to set up little goals just to keep me motivated.”
Adam Scott shot a 75 to fall to 1 under, but he remains in contention after missing out on a British Open victory by bogeying his last four holes.
“I certainly feel like I’ve been received very well the last couple weeks since I’ve been back and it’s great to have support,” Scott said. “I may have won a few more fans. Unfortunately it was from not winning the tournament, but maybe I can change that here over the weekend.”
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