The calmer, newer Masters version of Tiger Woods tries to tackle Augusta National during Friday's second round, hoping to improve on his one-over 73 showing in the first.
Woods received resounding praise for his short game play, showing off chips and several two-putts to get out of jams, the type of shots that have alluded him throughout his five-year majors drought.
“It’s my strength again,” Woods said to reporters. “That’s why I’ve busted my butt. That’s why I took time off. That’s why I hit thousands and thousands of shots to make sure that it’s back to being my strength.”
It was his drive, the powerful deep strokes that aided Woods’ dominance of the tour for so long, that resulted in mistakes.
Woods managed three birdies throughout the first round, but his work in the first four holes would put him in a hole he wouldn’t escape by the end. Twice he landed outside of the fairway, including in the bunker on the par-3 240-yard No.4.
The short game did help in the par-5s specifically, with all of Woods’ birdies coming on some of the longest holes on the course.
How Woods learns from his minor blunders, while keeping up the consistent short game, will determine whether he makes the cut. Woods has missed only one Masters cut during his storied carrier, but that was when he was an amateur.
Woods begins his second round at 10:30 a.m. ET, paired with Jimmy Walker and Jamie Donaldson.
We’ll have up-to-the-minute updates on Woods' progress through the second round below. And fans can monitor the leaderboard here.
Woods started the day with a poor tee shot, and was basically scrambling throughout the rest of the round. Let's see how he starts the second go-round.
He smacks down the center of the fairway 285 yards, and in solid position to set up birdie. And now a much better second shot that yesterday, nestling seven feet behind the cup on the green with a birdie likely. And a birdie to start. Woods is now even.
He birdied this hole yesterday, and two other par-5s as well. Back-to-back birdies gets confidence up and crowd behind him for vintage Tiger. Woods didn't bomb his tee shot in first round to avoid bunker in the middle of the fairway, so interesting to see if he shows the same patience with Jordan Spieth now nine strokes up.
Much straighter and deeper tee shot at 284 yards, well away from the bunker. 290 yards to pin, and again patience a factor. A bomb to the green next?
Woods does gun for the green and ends up in the bunker to the left front of the green. Birdie still possible but the eagle was definitely the play on that second shot. The way he chipped yesterday, Woods can still clean this up.
He's out of the bunker, but that chip rolled a bit too far, with two-putt now likely for a par at 23 feet from the cup. And still even through two.
Second shot on this par-4 spoiled the hole yesterday, but Woods' has learned from mistakes so far. Tee shot instead winds up in the rough to the far left of the green. Chip shot is difficult with the slightly elevated green, but Woods nails it to get within 11 feet of the pin.
Chipping continues to save Woods, really excellent work there with 64-yard shot. Again short on the putt, two feet from cup, but this is a right-to-left green with chance to roll back posible. Two-putt and still even.
First par-3 of the day at 240-yards, with bunker hindering straight shot to green. Woods bogeyed here yesterday after landing in bunker and second shot sailing behind green.
Straight tee shot, but bunker directly in front means second shot to green needs to be perfect. 32 yards from the pin. Second shot could only be more perfect if it went in for the birdie, instead Woods is two feet from the cup and can save par after poor tee attempt. Third straight par, for one-under on the day.
Keeps it on the fairway on tee shot for this par-4. A hilly green and bunker in the back makes this a dangerous hole for Woods, especially with longer approach shots his only real weakness so far.
But he sticks the apporach and is on the green nine feet from the cup, and threatening for a second birdie. Yesterday he two-putted after coming up short on first attempt. A birdie gets Woods under par overall for the first time.
Short by a foot on first putt, opportunity squandered. Two-putt for fourth straight par.
Since he's rediscovered the accuracy off the tee, a birdie on this 180-yard par-3 is possible. He pulled it right just into the rough near the green in first round and had to two-putt.
And he's past the green and to the right of the pin, with 15 yard chip to pin coming up. Second shot way short, leads to poor third shot to save some face, but a putt for a fourth shot and first bogey on the day. Back to one-over for the week.
The fairway isn't today's problem, its those approaches that highlighted first round. Consistency is troubling now for Woods, and now staring at a No. 7 green peppered with bunkers all around. 153 yards from the pin on this par-4.
Now that's the shot he needed. Second strike lands right on the green, splitting second and third bunker in front, with 27 feet from pin. That show wasn't perfect, but it could lead to better attempts throughout this round.
Yep, that led to 27-foot birdie putt. Longest of the tournament so far for Woods. Back to even overall.
A chance for back-to-back birdies to finally get under overall. Woods birdied this 570-yard par-5 yesterday. Really looking for him to put everything together now, otherwise a title chance is slim even if he makes the cut. Spieth is at 11-under now.
Barely avoids the bunker in the middle of the hole, 291 yards in, with tree line slightly skewing it view to green. 273 yards out.
Its a very long green, and best to stay in front of it, with bump in the middle hurting putt accuracy. Second shot could have been on the green, but Woods a little conservative, probably hoping to avoid the back of that green. He's 29 yards from the pin, and chips are still his strong suit right now.
Sticks the chip to the green, two feet from the cup, and back-to-back birdies on the horizon for one-under overall.
And he does it! One-under now, and first consecutive birdies before final hoel of front nine.
There is danger to lose that stroke since Woods bogeyed here in first round. This was site of his worst tee shot of the first round, and was forced to go over the trees that are down the middle of the hole.
Tee is a 350-yard bomb in the rough, but its maybe the clearest view to the green from anywhere on this hole, with 148 yards to pin. A careful, strong strike does the trick for the green in two.
Not for nothing, but that tee almost completely cancels out effect of bunkers in front of the green. A straight second shot or even just to the right is on the green for Woods.
And approach lands in the middle of the green, staring at a 36-foot put up a slight hill. Difficult for a third straight birdie.
First putt is four feet away from pin, with another par to end the front nine. Spieth at -12 under 11. Yikes.
Very nice start to the front nine before Amen Corner, smacks it 325 yards to perfect center of the hole. Can play for the green but very long bunker lurks in the middle of the second shot.
Approach plops down 15 feet from the cup, and fourth birdie of the day possible.
But Woods overshoots the first putt by three feet, and saves par with second attempt. Still 2-under on the day, and 1-under overall.
Amen Corner might be best chance to pick up another stroke, especially if better approach play is for real for Woods.
Disaster strikes, tee shot veers 388 yards wide right into the trees. Almost impossible not to get bogey here.
Somehow Woods sticks it to 15 feet from the cup, just kissing the green. Some of that putt magic from No. 7 is needed quick.
And there it is, uses some the downward break on the green to sink the birdie for 3-under on the day. Woods is now in a tie for 12th place overall. Cut doesn't look like it will be a problem.
Woods slipped into the drink on this hole yesterday. He's made very solid adjustments throughout, and losing the strokes he's gained on this par-3 would break any player's confidence.
Woods avoids the drink and front-facing bunker to hit the green 30 feet from the cup, but shot at birdie is gonna require a terrific read and putt.
Exasperation after coming up just short on first putt attempt, within two or three feet for par again. Would've moved into tie for sixth if he birdied there.
He birdied here yesterday despite finding the rough on the tee, and narrowly avoiding the bunkers behind the gree on the approach. But can't make those mistakes again if Woods hopes to climb up leaderboard. It's 510-yard par 5, and eagle is possible here too.
Ouch maybe not. Into the trees off the tee, and 214 yards from the pin with that narrow creek protecting. Second shot is a layup and gets to within 103 yards of pin. Third lands on the green but spins back slightly with 42-foot putt now at hand.
Excellent cleanup with first putt gliding to roughly two feet away. Still three-under on the day and two-under overall in tie for 14th.
Nothing new, just another perfect tee to the middle of the fairway. Avoiding the steep slope on the green is key on the next shot for any chance at birdie.
Clean approach but could've gone a little further with it as it rolls back. Instead 17 yards away, just outside the green. Par again seems likely.
Woods made par on every hole from here on in first round. Any chance of moving into top five rests on picking up strokes now.
First of the two-putt rests eight feet from the cup, and its not exactly a guarantee for par now. No matter, sinks par yet again to stay at three-under on the day.
So last four holes of the day with any talk of the cut not being made now completely dead. Woods again shows his love of the middle of the fairway with a 285-yard tee shot. There's 243 yards left to the pin on this par-5, and some wide drink before the green.
Woods lets fear of the creek and too short attempt get the best of him, and he lands well past the green on the second shot. Birdie still very doable. Far far too aggressive or maybe careless attempt on third shot. It bounces and curves around with about 25 to 30 feet until the cup.
First putt misses left by two feet, now four straight pars.
On the last par-3, Woods begins on the left of the tee, and veers a shot to the right of the green.
But he follows up with another stunning chip from the rough that nearly rolls into the cup for a much needed birdie. Still two feet to the cup, but another gimmee par.
Two left and Woods' consistency has him one stroke back of the big tie for fifth overall. He's currently tied for 12th, but looks to be in good shape for the weekend assuming he keeps this up.
And 284 yards off the tee, but he lands with trees in the way on the second.
Once again the approach barely outside the green, sitting 66 feet from the cup. Important to note that while a win this weekend seems improbable with 12 strokes behind the leader currently, there's no reason Woods can't use this performance to boost his play at the next three majors this year.
This green is especially treacherous, and Woods plays it well but it rolls poorly and sits 14 feet from the cup after the first putt attempt.
Oh boy, he drains the long putt and we see a half fist-pump! Great to see he's not staying inside his head, and finishing strong through tough plays.
Drive down the fairway suggests this final hole should be like the rest. Much cleaner look from Woods today with that one bogey on No. 6 really the only blemish. But we didn't see the taming of those par-5s that we saw in the first round.
Showed some apprehension after whipping that second shot high, but it rest down on the left side of the green, with 20 feet away from a birdie. Ending with a birdie can build momentum for tomorrow even if Woods has to wait to capitalize.
Actually closer to 15 feet, and some break down and to the left working against for Woods.
Lined it up well, but it coasts past the cup by a few inches. And he taps it in.
Overall, Woods wraps up a three-under 69 in the second round, nailing seven straight birdies to close the back nine, and is now two-under overall through 36 holes.
Woods is only two stroks away from the tie for third place, and with two more rounds left for everyone a second or third place finish does seem possible. Cleaning up the approaches and thus cutting down on the longer putts on the green will go a long way for Woods during Saturday's third round.