Tiger Woods’ prospects of winning his first tournament back on the PGA Tour are looking slim after his putting let him down on day two of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio.
The 14-time major winner, who has also triumphed seven times before at the Firestone Country Club, looked to be in contention after an opening round of two under par but was one over on day two.
That was despite producing four birdies, more than he managed on his first day back, and as a result the 35-year-old is seven shots off the pace and facing an uphill battle to claim a first title in almost two years at 50/1.
He said: “I didn’t putt as well as I did on Thursday, and consequently I just never got the round going. I know my stats don’t show it, but just the way I’m driving the golf ball – I’m so close to putting the ball on a string, so it’s coming.”
The star of the second round was his in-form young compatriot Rickie Fowler, who fresh from achieving his best major result to date at last month’s Open by tying for fifth posted a total of 64 to earn a share of the lead.
The 7/1-rated Californian is joined at the top of the leaderboard by 6/1 favourite Adam Scott, who slipped back on Friday after a stunning opening round of 62, and American duo Ryan Moore (10/1) and Keegan Bradley (16/1).
At four strokes shy of the frontrunners, Rory McIlroy, is still considered to be in contention at 12/1, though having gone around in 68 – two under par – in each of his first two attempts, he will need to pick up the pace over the weekend.