Woods forges one clear after bizarre Firestone finish

August 25th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Woods forges one clear after bizarre Firestone finish


AKRON, Ohio, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Firestone specialist Tiger Woods took charge in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational second round on Friday, despite running up an unusual bogey-five on his final hole.
Champion here four times in his last seven starts, Woods struck the clubhouse roof with his approach into the par-four ninth and was fortunate to get a free drop before completing a six-under-par 64.
That left him at nine-under 131, one stroke clear of fellow American Davis Love III (65) and ideally positioned to win his fourth consecutive PGA Tour title.
Woods swept past overnight leader Adam Scott with four birdies in his first four holes and picked up three more shots after the turn before dropping his only shot of the round.
Australian Scott, two ahead at the start of the day, experienced an erratic day before bogeying two of the last three holes for a 71 and a tie for third at six under with American Jim Furyk (65).
"I thought for sure that ball must be out-of-bounds but it wasn't," Woods told reporters after his nine-iron approach landed on a cart path 20 yards behind the ninth green before bouncing on to the clubhouse roof.
The clubhouse was deemed to be a temporary immovable object by rules officials and Woods took a free drop 84 yards from the hole, close to the first tee.
"If I had to re-drop from where I hit my second shot, it would have been a tough six," the world number one added. "So it was a huge break to get out of there with a five."
Woods had missed the ninth fairway to the right off the tee and, with 167 yards to the hole, struck his second shot 212 yards in the air.
Overall, though, he was delighted with his second-round performance.
"I hit it really well starting out and made some putts," he said. "I did some great work last night on the range and really controlled my flight today.
"I basically hit it well all day but didn't make any putts in the middle of the round, kept lipping them out."
Woods, whose winning streak includes last month's British Open and the PGA Championship at Medinah last week, made a red-hot start on a sun-drenched morning at Firestone Country Club.
He sank an eight foot birdie putt at his opening hole, a 15-footer at the 11th and struck his six-iron tee shot to within 10 feet of the flag at the par-three 12th.
After rolling in an eight-footer to birdie the 13th, he parred the next five holes to reach the turn in four-under 31.
Woods also birdied the first, second and fourth and, despite his bizarre finish, stayed ahead of the chasing pack and on track for his 11th individual WGC title.
South African Ernie Els shot a 67 to share fifth place at five-under 135 with Americans Lucas Glover (69) and Kevin Stadler (67).
Of the other big names, Jose Maria Olazabal carded a 70 to lie tied 11th at two under, four strokes better than fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia, who fell back with a 73.
Masters champion Phil Mickelson bogeyed his first four holes on the way to a second successive 74 and 68th place at eight over.
Seventy-eight players, including 47 of the world's top 50, are playing in the limited-field event.

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