Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler also is at the top of the leaderboard, a spot he shares with Jordan Spieth.
Scheffler (pictured, right) carded a six-under-par 65, while Spieth (left) had a bogey-free 67 as they share a one-stroke leader over ninth-ranked Brian Harman, the first-round co-leader, midway through the 24th Hero World Challenge at Albany Golf Course in New Providence, The Bahamas.
Tournament host Tiger Woods, playing for the first time since undergoing a second operation on his right ankle in April, bounced back from an opening 75 by making birdies on four of the first seven holes before stumbling down the stretch for the second straight day and is 15th after a 70.
“I haven’t played in six months, so things are not as sharp as they normally would be,” said Woods, who has won the Hero a record five times, but not since 2011. “However I felt better out there today and got off to a really good start before missing some putts coming home to fall back. My ankle feels fine, but I’m sore in several other places.
“This week is a great beta test to figure out what I can do, what the plan is going forward, what we’re going to do in the gym, what I need to do, and just overall just analyze what it’s like to compete and play.
“I’m hoping to play better on the weekend.”
Scheffler, the 2022 Masters champion, made five of his eight birdies on the back nine to record a 36-hole score of nine-under-par 135.
Spieth, who claimed a whopping 10-stroke victory in the 2014 Hero World Challenge, matched Scheffler’s two-round score by making three birdies on the front nine and two more on the back in his flawless round.
“I drove it well and gave myself a lot of birdie chances,” said Scheffler, who has finished second each of the last two years in the Hero. “Yeah, that’s probably the thing I did best. And then, for the most part, I kept a pretty clean scorecard card. I got a bad break on No. 8, made a bogey, and then got in a weird spot there on No. 18, but outside of that I played pretty solid golf all day long.”
Said Spieth, who opened with a 68 that included two eagles: “I felt like I’ve been playing some good golf recently and I felt like yesterday wasn’t a fluke. I got in some good work early this week, which I don’t often do here (at Albany). My coach was here. I was here early before the tournament just to get some good work in with good weather and just wasn’t sure where I’d be. Normally, you think of it as a really nice tune-up to get ready to play in a few weeks and start the season, but if you can work your way into contention, then you can get more out of it than you anticipated coming in.”
Harman, who shot 67 in the first round, bounced back from bogeys on three of his first four holes with an 86-foot hole-out for an eagle on the 14th hole and added five birdies in a 69, while Justin Thomas had birdies on the first three holes and added two more on the front nine in a 67 and is two shots back in fourth.
Eighth-ranked Matt Fitzpatrick of England holed out from 29 feet for an eagle on the second hole, added five birdies in a 68 and is three down in a tie for fifth with Collin Morikawa of La Canada Flintridge and Cal, who posted a second straight 69, and Tony Finau, who made three birdies in a 71 after sharing the first-round lead with Harman.
Sepp Straka of Austria had seven birdies in a 67 and is four strokes behind in solo eighth, while Jason Day of Australia, a 13-time winner on the PGA Tour, made four straight birdies on the front nine in a 69 and is five shots back in a tie for ninth with Cameron Young, the 2022 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, who had three birdies in a 71.
Lucas Glover hit the shot of the day, a hole-in-one on the 168-yard 17th hole in a 71, and is in a tie for 11th with seventh-ranked Max Homa of Valencia and Cal, who made two late birdies to salvage a 73, while Rickie Fowler of Murrieta, the 2017 Hero champion, is 14th after he sank an 18-foot eagle putt on the third hole in a 70.
Fourth-ranked Viktor Hovland of Norway, the two-time defending Hero champion, posted a second 73 and is tied for 16th, while 10th-ranked Wyndham Clark, the reigning U.S. Open champion, shot 73 and is tied for 19th with Will Zalatoris, who bounced back from an opening 81 by making an eight-foot eagle putt on the third hole of a 68 in his first event since undergoing back surgery in April.
The Hero World Challenges benefits Woods’ TGR Foundation, which benefits youth education programs.
For complete results and third-round tee times, visit: https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard