Tiger Woods’ season is off to a promising start.
The reigning Masters champion has the lead heading into the third round of the Zozo Championship in Chiba, Japan after posting a 64 on Saturday. Woods is in front of Gary Woodland by two strokes at 12-under.
Woods would tie Sam Snead for most PGA Tour victories at 82 if he wins at Narashino Country Club, where the tour is coming through for the first time.
Day off may have helped Tiger
Saturday’s round came after action on Friday was rained out due to Typhoon Bualoi, which pummeled the course with 9.79 inches of rain. In lieu of competing against each other, Woods went out with five players — Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Gary Woodland, Bubba Watson and Ryan Palmer — to watch “Joker.” Afterwards, they were stranded in the storm, so they hung out at a nearby Domino’s.
Perhaps the day off gave Woods an extra burst on Saturday. He birdied three of four holes during a stretch and took the outright lead on the 17th hole after a good shot onto the green.
He also birdied the 18th hole to finish the day at 12-under.
‘There’s no one clapping’
Because of typhoon, the course was closed to spectators on Saturday — surely a strange feeling for Woods after he opened to packed crowds in round one.
Woods said that it was different playing in front of no fans.
“I made a couple putts today and I went to put my hand up and I'm like, don't put your hand up, there's no one clapping, so just move on about your business and just go ahead and keep trying to plug my way up the board, and I was able to do that,” Woods said, via PGATour.com.
Long day ahead
The 43-year-old, who had knee surgery in April, was surprised by his score. It usually takes time to come back to full strength, but Woods said that the “softer” course in Chiba has helped.
“I left a lot of my approach shots below the hole and I was able to be pretty aggressive, and the greens are a little bit slower than they were yesterday,” Woods said.
Sunday is set to be a marathon day for the golfers, with play starting at 6:30 a.m. in Japan (5:30 p.m. ET) so that the tournament can wrap up quickly on Monday. Woods will tee off in the final group at 8:30 a.m. (7:30 p.m. ET).
“It's going to be a bit of a test physically and mentally to play for, what, up to 10 hours,” Woods said. “Hopefully I can play well and get myself right there.”
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