Potomac, Md. — What once was a formality is now a pleasant surprise for Tiger Woods. He goes into the weekend at the Quicken Loans National without having to make up too much ground on the lead.
Woods chipped in from 80 feet for birdie after his only bad miss off the tee, made four of six birdie putts from 18 feet or longer and matched his lowest score of the year with a 5-under 65 on a steamy Friday morning at the TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm.
He was tied for 11th, four shots behind Beau Hossler, Ryan Armour and Brian Gay.
“I’m not that far back,” Woods said. “The scores aren’t going to be that low and it’s going to be a tough weekend. It will be over 100 degrees and it will be a long weekend mentally and physically. I’m in a good position now.”
Not since the Valspar Championship during the Florida swing has Woods been this close to the 36-hole leader. He was tied for second that week in March, two shots behind, and he wound up one shot behind the winner.
For all the birdies, closing with two pars from the bunker was just as big.
Woods has struggled with finishing off rounds. He was one behind in the final round at Bay Hill when he drove out-of-bounds on the 16th hole for a double bogey. He was having a good final round at The Players Championship until making bogey with a wedge on the 14th hole, failing to birdie the reachable par-5 16th and taking double bogey on the island-green 17th with a tee shot in the water. Both times he had to settle for 69.
He saved himself Friday.
Brian Stuard (Jackson/Oakland University) missed the cut by a stroke after shooting 70.
In Colorado Springs, Colo., Jerry Kelly took a one-shot lead over Miguel Angel Jimenez into the weekend at the U.S. Senior Open. Kelly chipped in for birdie on No. 18 to highlight his round of 1-under 69. He was at 5 under at the halfway point and will play today in the final pairing with Jimenez, who was in the group with Kelly the first two days.
Lansing’s John Smoltz, the Hall-of-Fame pitcher, bounced back from an 85 in the first round with a 77 in the second round, but still missed the cut.
Detroit native Tom Werkmeister, a Michigan Golf Hall-of-Famer, made the cut after a 71 and is at 5 over par.
In Kildeer, Ill., Lydia Ko surged into contention at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, shooting a 6-under 66 in the second round to move two strokes off the lead.
The 21-year-old New Zealander shook off a rough first round at Kemper Lakes to give herself a shot to win her third major.
First-round leader Sung Hyun Park (72), 2016 winner Brooke Henderson (71) and So Yeon Ryu (69) were tied for the lead at 6-under 138.