A name that used to be a fixture atop the leaderboard shockingly turned up there again at the Wyndham Championship on Friday. The question now for Tiger Woods: How long will it stay there?
Woods, pronounced by many as done as a factor in professional golf, eagled the par-5 15th hole at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., to get to 11-under par, tying the number posted by leader Tom Hoge. He closed with three pars to conclude a round of five-under par 65.
It marked the first time Woods has held or shared a 36-hole lead since the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in 2013, which also was the last tournament he won.
Woods hit 15 greens in regulation and had five birdies and the eagle against two bogeys.
The key test comes in Saturday’s third round, unfriendly territory for Woods in 2015. Twice this year, at the Greenbrier Classic and the Quicken Loans National, Woods has played well through 36 holes only to stumble on Saturday. He finished tied for 32nd in one, tied for 18th in the other. Moreover, at the Players Championship and the Memorial, he had third-round scores of 75 and a career-high 85.
“It’s just part of the process,” Woods said, employing a term he’s used frequently in attempting to explain what does not yet qualify as a comeback. “I knew I was playing something similar to this at Quicken Loans. I just need to put it together for four days.”
Woods missed the cut at the PGA Championship last week, the third straight cut he missed in major championships, and only decided to play the Wyndham Championship on Monday.
He needs a victory or a solo second-place finish at the Wyndham to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs and extend his season.
Incidentally, this was the first time since the Waste Management Phoenix Open and Farmers Insurance Open early this year that Woods played consecutive weeks. He missed the cut in Phoenix and withdrew from the Farmers.