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Woods surges into share for the lead in Florida

10 March 2018

Woods opened with an impressive - if somewhat erratic - one-under-par 70 to lie tied-eighth after the opening round of the Valspar Championship.

He responded from double-bogey after a loose putt on his 14th hole by chipping in from a bunker two holes later to deliver birdie, only to give the shot back on his final hole to wrap up a frustrating day. I repeat, it's 2018, Woods is four tournaments into his most recent comeback and he led for much of the morning in Palm Harbor, Florida, on Friday during Round 2.

Another gain at the fifth, his 14th, left Woods as outright leader but a poor approach shot at the last, which hit a spectator's handbag, was followed with a clunked chip that fortuitously slowed after hitting the pin.

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Elsewhere in the field, world number four Jordan Spieth finished his second round five over and looks certain to miss the weekend with the projected cut at two over.

Starting on the back nine of the testing Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort, Woods recovered from a wayward drive on the 10th to make par and also parred the next before holing from five feet for birdie on the 12th.

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On the eve of the Valspar Championship, Rory McIlroy announced he felt in such good shape he would be "totally ready for the Masters if it started tomorrow".

It made for an awkward stance to say the least and Woods would make contact with the tree as he made his escape, but luckily there was no serious injury. He is keen to build on his 12th place at the Honda Classic, his most recent event after he returned to action from spinal fusion surgery. "For me, I'm ecstatic to have a chance to play again and to have a chance to win golf tournaments and compete". I've done that from tournament to tournament, I just need to get a little bit more tournament time in and I think I've done that. (But) I'm not going to put it out of the realm if Freddie (Couples) feels good, he's still in the mix.

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Woods surges into share for the lead in Florida