He sits four shots back of leader Henrik Stenson, with the 2016 British Open victor Stenson mixing nine birdies with a bogey during a brilliant 64.
A four-under-par 68 left Woods a shot behind fellow American Jimmy Walker while England's Justin Rose is three under alongside Graeme McDowell. But Woods eyed the long putt and was thinking about picking up a stroke. It's taken a little bit of time in terms of tournament rounds under my belt to be able to get into this position and I've got my tournament feels now, which is nice.
But Woods immediately bounced back with birdie on the par-five fourth and added more birdies on the sixth and seventh.
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But the 2016 Palmer victor is confident of clawing back up the leaderboard, having recorded a win and a runner-up in his two other US Tour events this year. It's the first time he has been the favorite to win a PGA Tour event since the 2014 Honda Classic.
Stenson said he was not surprised to see Woods at the top of the odds, despite the 42-year-old playing just the fifth event in his comeback from spinal fusion surgery last year. Alright, I didn't really sleep in a red polo shirt (but I would be lying if I said I didn't think about it) but if you turned on the TV this weekend to any sports channel you undoubtedly heard the phrase "Tiger is in contention". It was only when he reached his ball that a rules official informed him he was subject to a penalty and would need to go back to the tee to play his third.
"I figured I might as well play", Walker said.
He ran off five straight birdies around the turn, and he followed his lone bogey at the par-3 14th with two birdies and a 10-foot par save. It was vintage Woods, it gave us all flashbacks to the days you would bet Tiger against the field and feel like you were stealing. I've had some success under different conditions too, so that's always kind of a feather in the cap when I come to a golf course where I've had some success over the years, this is one of them.