It is the end of the halfway mark of the 2019 Hero World Challenge and it is American Patrick Reed who is now the sole leader of the 18-man field down at the Albany Golf Course in western New Providence yesterday afternoon.
Reed scored six-under par 66 again after shooting that exact score in the first round on Wednesday. He is now 12-under par 132 thru two rounds. That tied the lowest 36-hole score at the event since it moved to Albany.
“Today was a steady day,” Reed said. “I hit the ball not as straight off the tee, but was able to keep the ball in the fairway, and from there I was able to hit some quality iron shots and make some putts. I think that’s the biggest thing around here is you’ve got to make putts.”
He finished the round with seven birdies that were made on holes 6, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15 and 18. He had a bogey on hole 16.
Asked if he would take another two 66s in the next two rounds Reed resoundingly said he would love to do that.
“It’s one of those golf courses that when the wind lays down, it gives you opportunities to make birdies, but when the wind starts blowing, the golf course can get really challenging. It’s just one of these days and one of these weeks that you need to give yourself as many opportunities as you can and play from the short grass because when you do, you can attack,” Reed said.
He is still mum about his golf clubs that have helped him.
Five-time winner and tournament host Tiger Woods sits in fifth place in a three-way tie with Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler, with a score of six under par 138.
At the beginning of the day Woods was in 11th place but shooting six-under par 66 helped him to move up six places.
“I just think it was less windy. It was a little bit easier today,” Woods said. “Scoring conditions were a little bit better. I didn’t hit the ball as well as I would like starting out… missed a few greens.”
Woods went five-under par on the back nine where he had an eagle on hole 11 and had three birdies that came on holes 12, 14 and 16. That eagle was his second of the tournament. He played safe on the front nine shooting all pars except on the sixth hole where he shot a birdie.
Rahm and Woods were the only two players to go bogey-free in the second round.
Woods had trouble with hole 18 in the past and he even-par that hole and he felt good about it.
“I finally hit a ball in the fairway, which is great. Normally it’s either soup or it’s rocks, so finally got one in the fairway. From there it still wasn’t an easy shot, I had to roast a six-iron in there. It’s just a hard hole. Yesterday (Wednesday) the wind off the left, that’s one of the toughest winds you can have on a hole like that, and there’s no bail-out,” Woods said.
Sitting behind Reed in second place is his co-leader in the first round, Gary Woodland. He finished the second round with a score of three-under par 69 to have a total score of nine-under 69 135.
“I actually played really well today,” Woodland said. “Got a little unfortunate where the ball ended up there on 14 and let the bad lie kind of get the best of me there for two holes, which is frustrating. But outside of that, I played great. It’s nice to finish the way I did because I played a lot better than I scored today.”
Woodland had a strong finish shooting clutch birdies on holes 16, 17 and 18 to end the day.
“Birdieing the last three was huge, got me back in the golf tournament and give me a chance for this week,” Woodland said.
He is looking forward to going out and playing the weekend.
Swedish Henrik Stenson and Spanish Jon Rahm, last year’s winner, are tied for third place with a total score of eight-under par 136.
Rahm jumped up five places after shooting six-under par 66 in the second round. Stenson moved up one place after shooting five-under par 67 yesterday.
The first pair will tee off at 10.50 am. Woods and Thomas will tee off at 11.56 a.m. Reed and Woodland are paired up again and they will tee off at 12.18 p.m.