An ill Tiger Woods has made his first eagle in 16 months on his way to a two-under-par 70 in the rain-hit second round of the Hero World Challenge.
The former world No.1, playing his first tournament since August’s PGA Championship, closed with a double bogey after a two-hour rain delay to remain last at three-over-par in the 18-man invitational event Woods hosts to raise money for his charity foundation.
Last weekend’s Australian Open winner Jordan Spieth extended his overnight lead to two shots and is 11-under-par for the tournament.
Spieth was at five-under-par for the second round on the 18th green when it became too dark for him to finish.
Sweden’s Henrik Stensen is outright second at nine under, while Australia’s Jason Day, who hasn’t played since September due to a back injury, fired a five under round to move to six-under-par.
US Ryder Cup player Patrick Reed shot nine under with five birdies and an eagle on the front nine to have a share of third place with England’s Justin Rose on eight under.
All eyes were Woods, who is playing his first competitive tournament after a four-month layoff due to a back injury.
After fighting a morning fever and coughs during his round, Woods showed flashes of the form that brought him 14 major titles, four shy of the record set by Jack Nicklaus.
“I wasn’t feeling my best,” Woods said. “I just had to stay hydrated and try to keep things down.”
Woods, ranked 24th, produced his first eagle since the second round of last year’s WGC event at Firestone by sinking a six-foot putt at the par-5 13th hole.
At 14, he dropped the ball four feet from the cup and made the putt, then added a four-foot birdie putt at 16 and parred 17 before heavy rain struck Isleworth, a delay that would prevent the round from ending before darkness.
When play resumed, Woods put his approach at 18 over the green, then botched a chip by leaving the ball only on the edge of the green. He pitched it to 10 feet but missed his bogey putt.
“It’s not very good,” Woods said of his short game.
“It’s going to take more time to develop. It’s a different motion, a different pattern.”
Woods said the swing changes he has undertaken with new consultant Chris Como have had an impact on his chipping as he looks to past styles to revamp his swing and win a major title for the first time since the 2008 US Open.
“The good news is I understand the process. I have made changes before. It takes time,” Woods said.