AKRON, Ohio – Tiger Woods had a shot at making history with a magical 59.
He swore he wasn’t disappointed to come up short.
“Disappointed? Absolutely not,” he said.
Then he cracked, “A 61’s pretty good. I’m not bummed.”
Woods could console himself by tying his career best and building a seven-shot lead Friday through 36 holes at the Bridgestone Invitational.
Pursuing his eighth victory at Firestone Country Club, Woods opened birdie-eagle – stuffing an approach to 3 feet at the first hole and holing a 20-footer for 3 at the par-5 second. He had two more birdies on the front nine, and had four in a row to start the back nine in a light rain.
Needing to go only 2 under over his last five holes, he missed birdie putts inside 10 feet at 15 and 17. He saved par on the last with a 25-footer after an errant drive and a shot that hit into the trees and ended up in a bare spot short and right of the green.
The 61 – matching his career best at the 1999 Byron Nelson, 2005 Buick Open and on the same Firestone course in 2000 – left him at 13-under-par 127.
Defending champion Keegan Bradley and Chris Wood, playing the tournament for the first time, were tied for second. They each shot 68.
Women’s British Open: At St. Andrews, Scotland, before she can think of four in a row, Inbee Park first has to make up an eight-shot deficit.
Playing in the strongest wind this week, she had a pair of three-putt bogeys in a round of 1-over 73 that left her closer to the cut line than the lead. The 25-year-old South Korean is trying to become the first golfer to win four professional majors in one year.
Those rugged afternoon conditions were no problem for Na Yeon Choi. The South Korean had a 5-under 67 – nearly nine shots lower than the field average for the afternoon – and had a one-shot lead over Miki Saiki of Japan. Saiki set the Old Course record for the Women’s British Open at 6-under 66 in the morning, which featured bursts of showers but very little wind until late in the round.
Choi was at 10-under 134.
3M Championship: At Blaine, Minn., adrenaline is about the only thing keeping Mark Wiebe going. Playing well isn’t hurting, either. Wiebe followed his Senior British Open playoff victory with an 8-under 64 in the first round of the Champions Tour event to take a one-stroke lead over Kenny Perry and Corey Pavin.