It took him a second to get going, but Tiger Woods is in contention after the first round at The Northern Trust.
Woods posted a 3-under 68 on Thursday at TPC Boston, which is playing host to the first of three FedExCup Playoffs events this week, thanks to four birdies in six holes on his back side. He trails the leaders — Russell Henley, Cameron Davis, Harris English and Kevin Streelman are all tied at the top — by four.
Woods, who started his day on No. 10, fell to one-over after a bogey on No. 13. It wasn’t until a birdie on No. 18 — which was nearly an eagle, though his putt was just off the mark — that he fought himself back to even.
Woods then took off on the front nine, making back-to-back birdies twice in six holes to drop to 4-under and right into contention.
"When I gave myself some chances [on the front nine], I made them," Woods said, via ESPN.
While he ended his day on a bogey, Woods is just four back from the leader headed into the second round.
Woods was seen putting cold water bottles on his neck before the round, too, something that raised concern — especially given his history of injuries in recent years.
However that, he said, is nothing to worry about.
"My lower back is used to it. It's accustomed to it. We do it all the time just so I can get loose," Woods said, via ESPN. "I decided to put some up on my neck, and it's not as tolerant as my lower back, so it gets awfully hot. It's common in pretty much every other sport and especially hockey, those guys put some pretty hot stuff on their legs, but you become accustomed to it. My lower back is pretty immune to it, but my neck is not."
Woods needs push to make Tour Championship
Woods has competed on Tour just twice since play resumed after the COVID-19 hiatus, and last finished T37 at the PGA Championship earlier this month — which marked his best finish in a Tour event since January.
He’s already committed to play at next week’s BMW Championship in Chicago, too, which will be the first time he’s competed in back-to-back Tour events all season. The 82-time winner is currently No. 49 in the FedExCup standings, and will need to jump into the top-30 to qualify for the season-ending Tour Championship.
Woods will kick off Round 2 at The Northern Trust at 1:17 ET on Friday, and will again play alongside Dylan Frittelli and Matthew Fitzpatrick. Frittelli posted a 2-under 69 in his opening round, and Fitzpatrick carded a 6-over 77 after making four bogeys on his back nine.
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