Tiger Woods continues his outstanding comeback from extreme leg accidents Friday with a day tee time on the Masters, the legend firmly in title rivalry early within the second spherical. The 15-time main champion battled by ache to stroll the hilly 7,510-yard Augusta National structure, firing a one-under par 71 in Thursday’s opening spherical to share tenth. “I’m right where I need to be,” Woods stated. Woods was 4 strokes behind South Korean chief Im Sung-jae after 18 holes and remained that far adrift in breezy circumstances early Friday.
A botched chip price Im a bogey on the first gap however he sank a 24-foot birdie putt on the par-4 third to return to 5-under, one stroke forward of late-starting Australian Cameron Smith and 2020 Masters winner Dustin Johnson, who opened on 69 and sank a six-foot birdie putt on the par-3 fourth.
“I have the stamina to keep going,” Woods stated. “There’s a long way to go and a lot of shots to be played.
“This golf course goes to alter and it is going to get much more tough.”
Woods made an astonishing return to competition 14 months after a car crash in Southern California caused him severe right leg injuries.
Rods, plates and pins help hold together his leg after he was hospitalized for weeks and unable to walk for months.
Rehabilitation work has allowed the 46-year-old medical marvel to make an epic comeback at an iconic setting.
“I’m as sore as I anticipated to really feel, nevertheless it was superb,” Woods said.
Woods, tied for 10th after the first round, was set to tee off at 1:41 p.m. (1741 GMT) in Friday’s third-to-last group alongside Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa and Joaquin Niemann of Chile.
Between rounds, Woods soaked his leg in icy water to ease the swelling while trying to keep it strong for Friday shotmaking.
“Lots of ice baths. Just principally freezing myself to dying. That’s simply a part of the deal,” Woods said. “Getting all of the swelling out as finest as we presumably can and getting it cell and warmed up, activated and explosive for the following day.”
Im shot 67 Thursday for a one-stroke lead over Smith, with whom he shared second behind Johnson at the 2020 Masters, played in November due to Covid-19. That was the last top-level event Woods had played before Thursday.
Thousands of spectators lined every hole of the famed course Thursday to cheer Woods in his amazing quest to capture a record-tying sixth green jacket after once fearing he might lose his leg.
“Walking just isn’t straightforward,” Woods said. “With all of the exhausting work, my leg, it is going to be tough for the remainder of my life. That’s simply the best way it’s, however I’m in a position to do it.”
Woods drew energy from the crowd of supporters over the same layout where he won his first major title 25 years ago and claimed his most recent major title in 2019 — when he completed an amazing comeback after spinal fusion surgery.
“The place was electrical,” Woods said. “To have that kind of vitality on the market was superior to really feel.”
Woods, who has slid to 973rd in world rankings, would match the all-time Masters win record of Jack Nicklaus with a victory and break the record he shares with Sam Snead of 82 career US PGA victories.
Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy, seeking a green jacket to complete a career Grand Slam, chipped his approach at the par-5 second to two feet and made a birdie putt to reach level par for the tournament after an opening 73.
McIlroy hasn’t won a major title since 2014.
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