Tiger Woods’ birdie on No. 17, the toughest hole at the PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, brought the biggest roars he’s heard in five years. Just five tournaments in to his big comeback from years of injuries, the 14-time Major winner is four strokes off the lead.
“I feel like I’m right there,” Woods said. “I’m right where I can win a golf tournament. You know, four back on this golf course with 36 holes to go, anybody can win this golf tournament right now. It’s wide open.”
Only 13 players broke par on Friday, with Luke List and Jamie Lovemark leading the way at 3-under apiece. List shot a 66 and Lovemark a 69 on Friday. List had five birdies on the day and was 3-under on the back nine.
2017 Race to Dubai chap Tommy Fleetwood, Day 1 co-leader Webb Simpson and the surprising Rory Sabatini. Sabatini, who will turn 42 in April, is looking for his first PGA Tour win since 2011, also at The Honda Classic.
World No. 3 Justin Thomas was 2-over with a 72 but that kept him in third place at 1-under.
Day One co-leader Alex Noren of Sweden staggered to a 5-over 75 to drop 1-over for the tournament. Noren shot an ugly 4-over 39 on the front nine with three bogeys and a double bogey. He was as high as 6-over with bogeys on 10 and 13 before getting a stroke back with a birdie on 15.
Woods was in position to challenge for the lead, shooting a 1-under on the front nine with birdies on 4 and 9. He was still 1-under through 14 before giving up three strokes with a double bogey on 15 and a single on 16. His birdie on 17 brought the crowd to his feet.