Woods capitalizes on magical second round, coasts in Akron

AKRON, Ohio — Every once in a while, Tiger Woods has one of those moments that reminds us what all the fuss is about. 

This time, that magic was displayed Friday, in the second round of the Bridgestone Invitational. As you likely know by now, Woods tied his own course record at Firestone Country Club that day, cruising to a remarkable 9-under 61.

The rest of this tournament was merely something that needed to be completed.

After Friday, Woods could afford to coast, finishing with a 15-under total of 265. Defending Bridgestone champ Keegan Bradley and Henrik Stenson each finished at 8-under.

Woods, by the way, is the last player to follow a PGA Tour win (2007 Bridgestone) with a major championship (PGA Championship) the next week. He’ll get the chance to repeat the feat later this week at Oak Hill.

As for Sunday’s round, Woods mostly played it safe. He shot an even-par 70 on his way to matching a tour record for wins in a single tournament (eight).

“As blustery as it was, it was going to be really hard for someone to shoot 62 or 63,” Woods said. “If I didn’t give any shots away and played my game and shot even par or better, I’d force these guys to go and shoot something super low on a golf course that wasn’t going to give it up under these conditions.” 

That’s the good news for Woods. The not-so-good is he hasn’t fared well, at least not when it comes to first-place finishes, in majors of late.

In fact, of the previous 19 times in which he won a tournament before a major, he’s followed up with a victory just four times – 2000 U.S. Open, 2001 Masters, 2006 PGA and 2007 PGA. So do the math, and you’ll see it’s been six years.

But Sunday, it was all about celebrating the Bridgestone.

“The total body of work is pretty good,” Woods said. “One of the things I’m proud of, obviously, is how many times I’ve won, plus won World Golf Championships and how many years I’ve won five or more tournaments in a season. What is it, like eight or nine times? Ten? That’s not bad, either.”

Not bad at all, and a reason Woods has to feel like perhaps the magic is back. At the very least, one of those Tiger Woods moments sure was in Akron. Who knows what it might mean next?  

Bridgestone Notes

• With the win, Woods maintained his lead in the FedEx Cup standings at 3,031. It also marked his 18th World Golf Championships title in 42 starts.

• This also marks Woods’ 10th season with five or more tournament victories. He’s first all-time in that department, ahead of Sam Snead (eight), and Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus (seven apiece).

• Woods’ 79 tour victories is three shy of Snead’s all-time record of 82.

• Woods has won 13 times in Ohio, including five victories at the Memorial Tournament in Dublin.

• Cleveland native Jason Dufner tied for fourth at Bridgestone, with Zach Johnson and Miguel Angel Jimenez, at 6-under.