American Tiger Woods stands in the rough on the 16th hole during his delayed second round at the 144th Open Championship, St. Andrews on July 18, 2015. File photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo
Tiger Woods' comeback tournament is going just nicely through two rounds.
Woods recorded a 4-under 68 in Friday's second round to follow an opening 69 and he is tied for fifth at 7-under 137 after two trips around Albany Golf Course at the Hero World Challenge in Nassau, Bahamas.
Woods is five shots behind leader Charley Hoffman, who registered 12 birdies en route to a 63. Hoffman (132) holds a three-shot lead over Jordan Spieth (67) and England's Tommy Fleetwood (69), while England's Justin Rose (68) another shot back at 8-under.
Yet even Hoffman's blistering round was overshadowed by Woods, who is returning after his fourth back surgery. Woods last played in February prior to a nearly 10-month absence.
"I proved that the surgery was successful," Woods told the Golf Channel in a post-round interview. "The rehab has been fantastic and now we have a chance to go out there and play competitive golf again."
Woods recorded one eagle and four birdies and also had two bogeys during Friday's round. He shot a 31 on the front nine and dropped to a 37 on the back side.
Putting was a problem for Woods as he was surprised by the quickness of the surface.
"I had a difficult time all day with my speed on these greens," Woods said. "They seem to be a foot faster. They were dry, they were rolling out and I air-mailed a few of them well past the hole but I really did struggle with my speed."
Asked if he was close to his past level of play, Woods quickly halted such chatter.
"I just came back so I have a long way to go and it is going to take time," Woods said. "A lot more practice, a lot more training and more tournaments."
Woods confirmed he took Advil after the ninth hole. He said it was on orders of his doctor.
He also said he experienced no troubles with his back after the opening round and also felt good Friday.
"No issues at all. None," Woods said. "One of the reasons why I played nine straight days at home (recently). My body is accustomed to playing."
Meanwhile, Hoffman birdied each of the final five holes to finish off his stellar round. His score could have been lower if not for three bogeys but he was pleased with his solid putting.
"I got the ball in the hole and the balls were going in, which was nice," Hoffman said in an interview with the Golf Channel. "On 17, I was able to make a bunker shot to sort of cap off the day."
Hoffman welcomed the return of Woods and was impressed with Tiger's round.
"It's nice to see again," Hoffman said. "I was playing with Justin and he's never played with Tiger. He's never heard the roars he produces out here. It is pretty special to be out there and to see Tiger making eagles and birdies and hopefully in contention on Sunday."
Hoffman's 63 fell one shy of the course record set last season by Rose.
Spieth had seven birdies and two bogeys during Friday's round. Fleetwood carded seven birdies but was hurt by two bogeys and a double-bogey. Rose had five birdies against one bogey.
Rickie Fowler (70), Matt Kuchar (70), Japan's Hideki Matsuyama (66) and Italy's Francesco Molinari (68) were tied with Woods in fifth.
Dustin Johnson (72) is in 13th place, eight shots behind Hoffman.