BETHESDA, Md. — Tiger Woods never felt so good after playing so badly.
Taking two shots to escape a plugged lie in a bunker put him a hole. Four straight bogeys on the back nine Friday in the Quicken Loans National buried his chances of making it to the weekend. Over two rounds at Congressional, he missed 16 greens and managed to save par only three times.
Woods was back — just not for very long.
Playing for the first time in more than three months because of back surgery, he had a 4-over 75 on Friday and missed the cut by four shots. It was only the 10th time in his PGA Tour career that Woods missed a 36-hole cut, and the first time he didn’t sound overly distressed.
“I hate to say it, but I’m really encouraged by what happened this week,” Woods said. “I missed the cut by four shots — that’s a lot. But the fact that what I was able to do physically, and the speed I had and the distance that I was hitting the golf ball again, I had not done that in a very long time. Felt great today. Then, as I said, I made so many little mistakes … all the little things that I know I can fix. But as I said, that’s very encouraging.”
And it wasn’t all that surprising.
Woods had played only four tournaments this year while coping with an increasingly sore back, which led him to have surgery March 31 and miss the first two majors. He had hoped to return for the British Open next month. Instead, he felt strong enough to play the Quicken Loans National, primarily because it benefits his foundation and Woods figured he needed to get in a little competition before going to Royal Liverpool.
Even it if was only two rounds.
“I came back four weeks earlier than we thought I could,” Woods said. “I had no setbacks. I got my feel for playing tournament golf. I made a ton of simple, little mistakes — misjudging things and missing the ball on the wrong sides and just didn’t get up-and-down on little, simple shots. Those are the little things I can correct.”
Marc Leishman of Australia turned potential bogey into unlikely birdie when he holed out from 127 yards on the par-5 ninth hole on his way to a 5-under 66 and a four-way share of the lead going into the weekend.
Oliver Goss, another Aussie who is making his second pro start, had a bogey-free 66 and joined Leishman at 6-under 136 along with Ricky Barnes (69) and Patrick Reed (68), who already has won twice this year.
Senior Players Championship
PITTSBURGH — Bernhard Langer overpowered vulnerable Fox Chapel for the second straight day, shooting a 6-under 64 to take the lead in the Senior Players Championship.
The 56-year-old Langer, a two-time winner this season on the Champions Tour, was at 11-under 129 after 36 holes as he searches for his first victory at the Senior Players after five top-10 finishes.
Doug Garwood, tied for the first-round lead, and Bill Glasson were two strokes back. Garwood birdied two of the last three holes, and Glasson had a 64.
Joe Durant, also tied for the first-round lead, had a 68 to join Michael Allen (64), John Riegger (64) and Mark McNulty (66) at 8 under. Defending champion Kenny Perry moved into contention at 7 under with a 63, the best round of the week.
BMW International Open
COLOGNE, Germany — Local favorite Martin Kaymer missed the cut in the BMW International Open in his first event since winning the U.S. Open, while England’s Danny Willett, Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal and Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo share the second-round lead.
Kaymer followed his opening 71 with a 73 to finish at even-par 144 at Gut Larchenhof. Kaymer is from Dusseldorf, about 20 miles from Jack Nicklaus-designed Gut Larchenhof. He’s the lone German champion in tournament history, winning in 2008 at Munich Eichenried.
Willett, the 2012 winner at Gut Laerchenhof, had a 68 to match Larrazabal (63), Rafa Cabrera-Bello (68) amnd Grillo (66) at 12 under. John Daly was tied for 29th at 7 under after a 67.
By wire sources