GRAND BLANC TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Tiger Woods has shot a season-low, second-round 63 to move into contention at the Buick Open.
Poor putting led to an awful start in the first round in Woods' first tournament since missing the cut at the British Open.
Woods teed off early Friday morning, hitting his first drive 342 yards straight into the blinding sun. He went on to a birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie start to remove the remote chance he would miss the cut in consecutive events for the first time as a pro.
Woods followed up what he called probably the worst putting day of his career with a good one, helping go into the weekend at 10-under 134.
Michael Letzig (65) had the clubhouse lead at 12 under.
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GRAND BLANC TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Tiger Woods had a chance to make up for an awful day at the Buick Open.
Problem is, Woods wasn't the only one with a shot to take advantage of one of the easier courses on the PGA Tour.
Woods started Friday morning 1 under — eight shots behind first-round leader Steve Lowery — after his putter let him down just as it did at the British Open.
"I'm going to have to take advantage of the holes you're supposed to take advantage of, par 5s, couple short par 4s," he said. "I'll handle those and sprinkle a few more here or there and I'll come up with the number I need to come up with."
If Woods has another lackluster round, he'll put himself in danger of missing cuts in consecutive tournaments for the first time as a pro. The cut at Warwick Hills is usually 3 or 4 under.
"I not only have to play well to make the cut, I got to play well to get myself back in contention," said the two-time Buick Open champion, whose worst finish in eight previous stops at here was a tie for 11th. "Guys are going to continue to go low. That's the way the golf course is playing right now.
"It's going to be 20-plus to win."
It usually is. The average winning score has been almost 21 under par since 2000 at Warwick Hills, one of the easiest courses on the PGA Tour.
Lowery took advantage of perfect conditions Thursday morning — smooth, receptive greens and calm winds — by tying a course record with a 29 on the front nine and finishing 9-under 63.
John Senden also did, making five straight birdies in the morning and finishing with nine to end up only a shot off the lead.
Y.E. Yang, James Nitties, Vaughn Taylor, and Brian Vranesh shot 65s on Thursday, leaving them two strokes back.
Playing for the first time since flopping at Turnberry, Woods finished the first round tied for 128th on putts inside 10 feet.
"Probably one of the worst putting days I've ever had," he said. "It was just terrible."
Two weeks ago in the British Open, Woods was 7 over during a six-hole stretch and ended up missing a cut for the first time in three years.
Woods didn't see his latest poor performance coming.
He was pleased with his practice sessions following his flop at the British Open and had five birdies on the front nine during Wednesday's pro-am.
Woods was accurate off the tee early, missing only one fairway before making the turn, and his approach shots were solid much of the day.
His putter let him down.
Woods three-putted from 12 feet on his second hole for bogey and missed a 6-foot par putt on 5, leading to a a big sigh and slumped shoulders. He pulled makable putts at 15 and 17.
Woods did make a clutch putt from 20-plus feet to save par at No. 4, but the result was the only thing he liked.
"I actually pulled it," he said. "I hit a bad putt there, went in. I hit a really good putt at 15, hit something and went left.
"It's just one of those days. One of those weird days."
The 48-year-old Lowery hasn't finished better than 24th this year. He won at Pebble Beach last year, earning a third victory on the PGA Tour and his first since 2000.
Lowery had an 18-hole lead for the 19th time and is hoping to turn that tenuous position at the Buick Open into a title for just the second time in his career.
"It looks like the weather is going to be pretty mild this week, so my (prediction to win) was 24 under," Lowery said. "Obviously 9 under is a great start, but if you don't follow it up the rest of the week, it ain't going to hang around.
"You got to get it done for the last three days."