Tiger Woods ties personal best with 61 at WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

08/02/2013 7:53 PM ET
By Grant Tunkel

Woods carded a 61 on Friday to give him a seven-stroke lead over Keegan Bradley and Chris Wood, who are tied for second.(AP)
Tiger Woods flirted with golf history on Friday in Akron, Ohio, but in the end the world's No. 1 golfer settled for a captivating performance and a remarkable score.

Woods shot a 61 in Round 2 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, equaling his lowest 18-hole score as a professional and the record at Firestone's South Course.

For some time, a PGA Tour record-tying 59 was within reach. But Woods closed his round with five consecutive pars, finishing two strokes shy of the number. Still, a 61 gave him sole possession of first place -- seven strokes ahead of Keegan Bradley and Chris Wood, who are tied for second.

A seven-time winner of the event, Woods got his round rolling early. He birdied No. 1 and eagled No. 2, reaching the green in two shots and sinking a 20-foot putt at the latter. He again carded a birdie at No. 3.

Woods birdied No. 7 and made the turn in 5-under 30.

Then, the 59 watch began.

Woods rattled off four consecutive birdies to begin the back nine. At No. 10, a terrific approach left a seven-foot birdie try. At No. 11, another strong approach left about five feet. Woods then showed his putting prowess, converting a 20-foot try at No. 12 and a 14-footer at No. 13.

As Woods approached the tee at No. 14, he stood at 9-under for the round and 13-under for the tournament. He needed to play the final five holes in 2-under to equal 59.

After parring Nos. 14-16, Woods reached the green in two at No. 17 and had an eight-foot try for a birdie. But the putt broke left of the hole and he made par.

With a chance at 59 all but gone, Woods needed a par at No. 18 to equal his personal best as a professional and the course record. But his tee shot found the rough well right of the hole, his second landed in the rough again and his third ran through the green toward the fringe.

Faced with a 27-footer to save par, Woods would not be denied. He buried the long putt, raising a hand in the air to celebrate with the ball still a few feet from the cup. The top-ranked Woods had finished off an impressive round: a 9-under-par 61 to take a commanding lead.

Only 36 holes stand between Woods and an eighth career WGC-Bridgestone Invitational title. He will begin third-round play on Saturday at 1:10 p.m. ET with Bradley and Wood.

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