Tiger shoots 68, Hoffman leads Hero after 63

The new Tiger Woods is playing at least a little like the old one.

The soon-to-be 42-year-old Woods overcame two miscues for the second day to shoot 4-under-par 68 and is tied for fifth, five strokes behind Charley Hoffman (pictured) midway through the Hero World Challenge at Albany Resort in New Providence, Bahamas.

Woods actually took the lead with a 20-foot eagle putt on the ninth hole to finish the front side in 5-under 31, before making his only bogeys on the 12th and 18th holes.

“After that 31 on the front nine, I could have gotten a few more on the back nine,” said Woods, playing competitively for the first time since his fourth back surgery in recent years. “I had a difficult time all day with my speed on the greens. They seem to be about a foot faster. They are dry, rolling out and I airmailed a few of them well past the hole. I really did struggle with my speed.

“ … I proved that the surgery was successful, the rehab has been fantastic. Now I have a chance to go out there and play competitive golf again. I’m just getting back, so I have a long way to go. That is going to take time. A lot more practice, a lot more training and more tournaments.

“(But) the body is good.”

Hoffman collected 12 birdies, six on each nine, including five in a row to finish off a round of 63 after making bogeys on the 12th and 13th holes.

The 40-year-old from Poway and UNLV leads by three shots at 12-under 132.

“It was the putter,” said Hoffman, a four-time winner on the PGA Tour. “I got the ball to the hole and they were going in, which was nice. On 17, I was able to make a bunker shot which capped off the day. If I keep making putts I am usually in contention on Sunday. So putter feels great, the game is in a pretty good spot.

“ … It is pretty special to be out here and to see Tiger making birdies and eagles, and hopefully in contention on Sunday.”

Second-ranked Justin Spieth carded a 67 and is tied for second with Tommy Fleetwood of England, the first-round leader, who had a 69, while Justin Rose of England is four back in solo fourth after a 68.

Defending champion Hideki Matsuyama shot 66, with his only bogey on the last hole, and is five behind in a tie for fifth with Woods, Rickie Fowler (70) of Murrieta, Francesco Molinari (68) of Italy and Matt Kuchar (70).

Patrick Reed made a double-bogey 6 on the last hole but still shot 66 and is one more down in a tie for 10th with Kevin Chappell of Fresno and UCLA, who had a 70.

For complete results, visit https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html.

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