Thursday 21 September 2017

Woods shows old form with best round of year

Tiger Woods takes his second shot on the 17th hole during the first round of the Greenbrier Classic at the Old White TPC on July 2 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia (Darren Carroll/Getty Images)
Tiger Woods takes his second shot on the 17th hole during the first round of the Greenbrier Classic at the Old White TPC on July 2 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia (Darren Carroll/Getty Images)

James Corrigan

As if the build-up to the British Open Championship did not contain spice enough, Tiger Woods showed a flavour of his old self with a 66 - his lowest competitive score in 16 months - at the Greenbrier Classic yesterday.

The 39-year-old was unrecognisable from the shambles which characterised his 80 and 76 to miss the cut at the US Open two weeks ago with the highest 36-hole total of his 19-year professional career.

Woods hit 10 of the 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens in regulation - and, just as importantly, his motion looked smooth and his mood confident.

Most impressively, he shrugged off a sloppy double bogey on his 15th hole (the sixth) by finishing with three straight birdies.

Dare we say it was a 'Tigeresque' response from the player now 220th in the world rankings.

"I told myself (after the sixth on the 470-yard par-four), I'm not going to lose this round - I'm playing too well," Woods said.

"I was trying to get it back to three under, to pull off the hat-trick coming home (to move to four under) was very nice."

Self-belief

At the very least he will be looking to make the cut and then he can focus on the weekend and building some much-needed self-belief as he tries to win at St Andrews for the third time.

Before this round, Woods was reckoned to be a 50-1 shot for the Open at the course where he won his first two Claret Jugs by a combined 13 shots.

This was only his fourth round in the sixties in his last 21 rounds - which have also featured three scores in the eighties - and, although, the course in West Virginia was eminently "gettable", with Woods's fellow American Scott Langley leading in the clubhouse with a 62, this was extremely encouraging and suggested his new swing under Chris Como is finally bedding in.

Three Englishmen were also high up with Brian Davis firing a 64, Greg Owen a 65 and Paul Casey, beaten in a play-off in Connecticut last Sunday, alongside Woods on 66. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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