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Tiger Woods makes it to the Masters for the 24th consecutive year

AUGUSTA, Ga. – In its heyday, Tiger Watch always focused on the top of the leaderboard: How low can he shoot and how high can he climb? There’s plenty of intrigue surrounding Tiger Woods in the second round of this year’s Masters, but the golf world’s attention turned a little deeper to the board on Friday: Can he do it?

Woods finished his opening round with a 1-over-par score of 73 on Friday morning and shot an even-par 72 later in the day in the second round, putting him comfortably on the good side of the cut line. He had an adventurous afternoon round – four birdies, four bogeys – and was tied for 29th when he left the course.

The top 50 players (and matches) survive to play the weekend at Augusta National.

“That means I have a chance by the weekend,” he said. “I’m here. I have a chance to win the golf tournament.”

With many golfers still on the course, Woods’ score was well above the planned cut line (4 over par) and he was poised to make the cut here for the 24th consecutive time, setting the tournament record.

It was a long day at the office for Woods, who reported to the golf course before 7 a.m. and then played 23 holes of golf. His gait was noticeably slower at times, limping slightly and occasionally wincing along the way. Woods barely had a chance to catch his breath between rounds. He had a break of almost 45 minutes before reporting to the first tee to begin his second round.

“I’m tired,” he said. “I had been traveling for a while, competing and grinding. It was a long 23 holes, a long day.”

He was in good form when he turned the corner early on Friday afternoon after an adventurous start to the front nine. After mastering the fourth and fifth holes, Woods’ name slipped down the leaderboard. But he responded with two birdies in the next three holes, including a nine-yard chip-in on the sixth hole.

Later, on the par-5 15th hole, Woods shot his second 257 yards to the green for his fourth birdie of the day.

As the second round unfolded, Woods fell well off the pace, but a windy forecast could shake up the leaderboard late in the day. Bryson DeChambeau’s 65 on Thursday was more than good enough for the first-round lead. Max Homa, playing alongside Woods, finished his opening round on Friday morning with a 67, tying him for third place with Nicolai Hojgaard. But after the first nine of his second lap, Homa had taken the solo lead.

Homa played a steady second round in difficult conditions, scoring 1-for-71 on the day, one shot behind DeChambeau, who was still on the course.

Scottie Scheffler, the world’s best player, was alone in second place after the opening round, one stroke behind DeChambeau and remained one stroke away from the lead entering his second round on Friday.

Woods and Homa were among 27 players still on the court when play was suspended Thursday. The start of the opening round was delayed by 2½ hours due to rain.

Woods began the day at 1-under through 13 holes. He certainly didn’t get the rest he wanted between rounds. When asked how his body was doing Thursday night, Woods said, “It’s there. The body is fine. We still have a lot to do this evening.”

After making just one bogey in 13 holes on Thursday, he had two in his five holes on Friday morning. His approach shot to No. 14 was too short and his chip was too long. His two-putt resulted in a bogey, putting him back on par for the round.

After a few pars, Woods found himself in the greenside bunker on No. 18 and then shot over the hole. He missed a 12-foot putt and settled for another bogey.

The 73 was still one of his best 18-hole results in recent years. After an opening round of 71 in 2022, Woods had 74, 78 and 78 en route to a 47th-place finish. And then last year he shot a 74 and a 73 before withdrawing in the third round.

This year’s tournament marks Woods’ 26th Masters. Only two other players have done it 23 times in a row – Fred Couples and Gary Player – and Woods joked that he would take aim at Couples now that Woods is the sole owner of the record.

“I’ve always loved playing here,” Woods said. “I’ve been able to play here since I was 19. Being able to compete is an honor I don’t take lightly.”

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