Leishman, Woods in contention at Quicken Loans National

Rex Christensen
June 30, 2018

Tiger Woods wielded his new putter with precision to match his lowest score of the year, a five-under-par 65 to jump into contention in the second round at the Quicken Loans National outside Washington on Friday.

But while the putting issues that have plagued him of late continue to be a work in progress, Woods was at least pleased with some improvement after employing a different putter for the first time in almost three years.

With a spectacular chip-in and two putts beyond 20 feet among his seven birdies, the 14-time major victor stood on five-under 135 after 36 holes at TPC Potomac, only four strokes off the early clubhouse lead held by American Beau Hossler. "I don't mind that at all".

"I'm not that far back, and I'm in a similar position where I was at the Valspar. I started on my line with the right pace and a lot of them fell". So that's the positive sign, to keep doing that.

Woods made the rare decision to switch putters this week, putting his Scotty Cameron aside - for now - in favor of a mallet-like model by TaylorMade that he said he began working with last week. He also banged in two more birdies from almost 20 feet before suffering a hiccup at the 17th, where he three-putted.

He also made some putts, a significant occurrence given all of his struggles on the greens of late.

Woods had a double-bogey 6 on the sixth hole when a wayward drive led to an approach shot that ended up in a hazard.

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A flick with a wedge to two feet at the fifth set up his seventh birdie of the round, and Woods did well to get up and down from greenside bunkers at both the eighth and ninth as he remained on five under par.

"That three-wood, I smoked it 280 (yards), a nice high cut off a downhill lie, not exactly an easy shot to hit but I pulled it off", he said, displaying just a trace of his old cockiness. "The course is getting a little bit more hard". "I'm sure it will come back eventually, just one of those things".

In all, Woods hit 10 of 14 fairways, reached 13 of 18 greens in regulation and needed only 26 putts. And he has been dealing with putting woes going back to the Wells Fargo Championship in early May. J.J. Spaun matched him in the afternoon, playing in the group behind Woods without hardly anyone noticing that he played bogey-free while running off five birdies in a seven-hole stretch. Check in for highlights from every tournament plus player interviews, player profiles, tournament previews, swing analysis and all the greatest shots and unbelievable moments. He eventually tied for 23rd.

Woods has been at least six shots behind - and no better than a tie for 29th - after the opening round of his last six tournaments dating to the Masters.

Americans Beau Hossler (66), Ryan Armour (65) and Brian Gay (64) share the lead on nine-under, one stroke ahead of compatriot Billy Horschel and Italy's Francesco Molinari.

Woods has won the Quicken Loans event twice, in 2009 and 2012, but it was then played at nearby Congressional Country Club.

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