TIGER WOODS says he is “getting better every week” after leaving himself perfectly poised to challenge for a third successive Open victory at St Andrews.
The world No1, who won the Open title here in 2000 and 2005, fired a five-under-par 67 to lie four shots adrift of overnight leader Rory McIlroy.
Woods has been far from his best since returning from his five-month exile from the game, but showed glimpses of his former imperious self in the benign early conditions as he stalked the leading pack in search of a 15th Major title.
“It’s getting better every week,” said Woods, who made six birdies before dropping his only shot on the dreaded 17th. “Every week I’m playing, the things I’ve been working on have been starting to come together. I’m hitting shots that I haven’t hit in a long time. It’s building.
“I made a lot of putts, the ball comes off faster and the greens are really slow – I had to put a little more hit in the stroke.”
Woods’s 67 matched his opening round score at the Open at St Andrews in 2000, and the American was astonished that it hadn’t lifted him higher up the leaderboard in a day of low scores.
“It was awkward that you have to be at five under to be in the top 10 – I’ve not seen a Major like this, he added. “All the guys were four or five under through the loop. They were taking the golf course apart.”