Impressive Woods leads in Australian Open

 

Clubhouse leader Tiger Woods fired an ominous warning to the chasing pack at the Australian Open, saying he has played far better than his 36-hole score suggests.

The former world number one, who has not won a tournament since the 2009 Australian Masters, produced a sizzling round of five-under-par 67 today to lead a world-class field at The Lakes.

The 35-year-old, who started the day three shots behind overnight leader Jarrod Lyle, made the most of the benign conditions in the morning, sinking five birdies on his first nine holes to surge to the outright lead.

Woods then had two bogeys and two more birdies on the way home to finish the round at nine under for the tournament to be one shot clear of Lakes member Peter O'Malley.

Despite being delighted to be back atop a leaderboard again, Woods felt his advantage could have been a lot more comfortable.

"Basically I felt that I never really missed a shot. Even though I shot five under today it felt like it could easily have been eight or nine deep," the American said.

"I could have been a little lower on my first nine holes. I parred a couple of the par fives.

"It feels good that I am there playing properly. It's not like I am slashing it all over the place.

"I am hitting the ball well. I have just hit so many lips these first two days.

"It could have been pretty low these first two days."

While stopping short of declaring he was fully back to his best, Woods said he was finally starting to feel comfortable with his swing, which he has been working on with coach Sean Foley over the last 15 months.

Woods has managed just nine events in 2011 as he battled a mixture of knee and Achilles injuries.

But after finally getting on top of his fitness concerns, Woods said the opportunity to devote more time on the practice range was the key to his improvement.

Asked the difference in his swing now to earlier in the year, he said: "Jeez, there is so much difference.

"If you look on the video, it is way different. Starting from the grip and the posture, to the takeaway, the clubface, arm angles. It is so different.

"I was closer to what I have (found this week) at Augusta but it still wasn't there. I still did not quite grasp the concept of what he (Foley) was trying to get (me to do)."

Many experts have written off the chances of Woods ever rediscovering his best form and winning another major since his rapid drop down the rankings over the last few months.

When asked if that type of talk was acting as motivation, Woods declared: "My whole goal is to win golf tournaments.

"That's it. If it happens, it happens, but that is not my goal.

"My goal is to win golf tournaments and play to the satisfaction of myself and my family. That, to me, is what it is all about."

O'Malley fired six birdies and was the only player not to make a bogey on his way to a 66 - the lowest round of the day - but the shot of the day belonged to Victorian Stephen Allan (74), who made a hole in one at the par-three 15th.

Jason Day, who partnered Woods in the opening two rounds, was alone in third on seven under after carding a solid 68 that featured five birdies and a solitary bogey.

Big-hitting American Bubba Watson was in fourth spot after posting a respectable two-under 70 in the blustery afternoon conditions to finish six under overall - one clear of Nick Watney (73), Matt Jones (70), Greg Chalmers (72), Rohan Blizard (70) and Lyle (74).

Lyle joined Woods in a share of first place with two early birdies but three late bogeys denied him the chance to play in the final pairing tomorrow.

Australian Adam Scott - accompanied by Woods' former caddie Steve Williams - was within striking distance at four under after signing for a 71 that included an eagle and a double bogey to trail Woods by five shots.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
science
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'