This week, the stage was set for Tiger Woods to win his eighth tournament at Firestone Country Club. I just figured it might take a little longer.
Woods officially put the rest of the field at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on notice with a dominating round of 61 on Friday. After finishing Thursday’s opening round two shots back of leader Webb Simpson, Woods came out on fire in the second round. Opening the day birdie-eagle-birdie, Woods was already four under par through just three holes, and never looked back.
Woods needed just 30 strokes to finish the front nine, but what he did to start the back is what really set his day apart. With four consecutive birdies to start the back nine, the hunt for the magic 59 was on. Even though Woods needed only 22 putts to get around, he missed short birdie opportunities on the 15th and 17th and fell just shy of the mark.
Even though Woods may have been disappointed in not reaching 59, he tied for his career low in tournament play.
“Am I disappointed?” Woods said after the round. “Absolutely not, nope. 61’s pretty good. I’m not bummed. […] I’m very happy I was able to post that. I just kept thinking, you know, whatever lead I had, let’s just keep increasing this lead.”
And increase the lead he did. With a seven-stroke lead over Keegan Bradley and Chris Wood (-6), and an extra shot over Henrik Stenson and Bill Haas (-5), it sure looks like Tiger can cruise to an easy victory and really get his game right before next week’s PGA Championship.
Although Woods is an absolute assassin with the lead, don’t expect him to just back off. There’s still a lot of golf to be played, and although he sure made it look easy on Friday, he did it by playing smart golf and striking the ball as well as he has all year.
If he keeps doing that, the rest of the field is just playing for second place.