Le Pays De France - Tiger opens with bogey as Masters comeback resumes

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Tiger opens with bogey as Masters comeback resumes
Tiger opens with bogey as Masters comeback resumes

Tiger opens with bogey as Masters comeback resumes

Tiger Woods resumed his remarkable comeback from severe leg injuries in Friday's second round of the Masters, but an opening bogey left him four strokes behind the leaders.

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The 15-time major champion found a massive fairway bunker with his starting tee shot Friday at Augusta National, then sailed right of the green with his approach. He chipped to seven feet from the cup but missed his par putt.

That's the same margin Woods was adrift after he battled through pain Thursday to walk the hilly 7,510-yard layout, firing a one-under par 71 to share 10th.

"I'm right where I need to be," Woods said.

Woods was four strokes behind South Korean leader Im Sung-jae after 18 holes but Im was one-over on his second round through 14 holes in breezy conditions.

That left Im on 4-under par overall, tied with 2016 Masters champion Danny Willett of England when Woods made his bogey and fell to level par for the tournament.

Woods teed off in Friday's third-to-last group alongside only Chile's Joaquin Niemann after 2010 British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa withdrew due to injury.

There was a buzz around Woods at Augusta National after his astonishing return to competition on Thursday, some 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 expected to feel, but it was amazing," Woods said.

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 basically freezing myself to death. That's just part of the deal," Woods said. "Getting all the swelling out as best as we possibly can and getting it mobile and warmed up, activated and explosive for the next day."

Im shot 67 Thursday for a one-stroke lead over Smith, with whom he shared second behind Dustin Johnson at the 2020 Masters, played in November due to Covid-19. That was the last top-level event Woods had played before Thursday.

- 'Electric' atmosphere -

Thousands of spectators lined every hole of the famed course Friday and cheered Woods as they had on Thursday in his amazing quest to capture a record-tying sixth green jacket after once fearing he might lose his leg.

"Walking is not easy," Woods said. "With all the hard work, my leg, it's going to be difficult for the rest of my life. That's just the way it is, but I'm able 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 electric," Woods said Thursday. "To have that type of energy out there was awesome to 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, birdied the par-5 second hole but made bogeys at the fifth and 10th to stand 1-over on his second round and two-over for the tournament.

McIlroy hasn't won a major title since 2014.