Tiger Woods pairing gave struggling pro butterflies - and birdies

Tiger Woods pairing gave struggling pro butterflies - and birdies

But the star-studded final-round pairing of Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth could make Mother's Day at TPC Sawgrass well worth the price of admission, especially if the duo performs like they did on moving day. He opened with a 15-foot birdie putt and had birdie looks from inside 20 feet on 12 of his first 13 holes.

His all-round game was in fine order as he backed up his accurate driving with assured putting in near-perfect conditions, rolling in further mid-range putts for birdie at the fourth, fifth and seventh.

Simpson posted a course record-equalling second round 63 on Friday to lead from compatriot Patrick Cantlay, South African Charl Schwartzel and Danny Lee of New Zealand.

Woods missed a great chance to get back to nine under at the 16th as he misread a birdie putt from eight feet, and he safely negotiated the 17th in par before he drilled a sublime second to the rear fringe at the last.

Tiger Woods made the cut at The Players Championship on the number, and though it seemed like it'd take a miracle for him to contend on Sunday evening, Woods made a charge up the leaderboard with a birdie blitz on Saturday morning.

He added: "I wish I could repeat it more often but, honestly, it was just [about] a better start".

Woods said he "felt a lot more comfortable with my driver and could be a bit more aggressive off the tees and consequently I had a lot of 9-irons and on down into the greens as the ball is just flying forever in this humidity". Eventually, I'll put all of the pieces together, and today for the most part I did that. The whole day I hit a lot of quality shots and 65 was probably as high as I could have shot, which was kind of nice. "As I've told you guys this week, I got my playing feels back and it's just a matter of executing and putting the shots together".

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"And the ball is flying forever in this humidity".

"I don't think it matters until I win", Simpson said. "I wanted to hit away from the pins unless I had a sand wedge in my hand".

Hughes, 27, said he grew up watching and idolizing Woods, and it was a thrill to be paired with him.

Woods' iron play was spot on and his putter red hot as he birdied four of the first five holes. The scale of reaction as Woods was in the middle of his charge only served to highlight once again what impact he has on a sport that not so long ago looked like it may have to resign itself to life without him.

He then built on that momentum on the par-5 2, where he got up and down from left of the green to get to two-under after 2.

If there was any disappointment in his round, Woods said it was getting himself to eight-under for his round through 12 holes but then finishing at seven-under for the day. "The greens need to be soft for someone to go very low to catch someone that's out in front".

Given most of the scoring holes at Sawgrass are actually on the back nine, it was not surprising that speculation was rife as to how low he could actually go. I think I was flawless inside of 10 to 15 feet today and anywhere inside, which was probably the first time this year.

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