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Thursday 2 February 2023 Dublin: 10°C
AP images Tiger Woods in Australia this morning.
# Comeback
Tiger roars again as former world No 1 leads in Australia
“I really played well,” Woods said earlier, “Even though I shot five under, it felt it could have been 8 or 9 deep.”

TIGER WOODS WALKED off the golf course to see his name atop the leaderboard today in the Australian Open.

Even more pleasing to him was the way he got there.

With control of his shots and comfortable over the putter, Woods put together his best back-to-back rounds of the year with a five-under 67 that gave him a one-shot lead going into the weekend at The Lakes.

It’s the first time he has led a tournament since the third round of the Chevron World Challenge last year, and the first time against a full field since his last win two years ago in the Australian Masters. Woods was tied for the first-round lead at The Barclays last year.

“I really played well,” Woods said. “Even though I shot five under, it felt it could have been 8 or 9 deep.”

He was at nine-under 135, one shot clear of a familiar name in these parts — and to Woods.

Peter O’Malley is a member at The Lakes and birdied his last two holes for a 66. O’Malley is memorable to some golf fans in the United States as the No. 64 seed who beat Woods in the opening round of the Match Play Championship at La Costa in 2002.

Jason Day, who played alongside Woods, managed to limit the damage from a few wayward shots and had a 68 to finish two behind. Bubba Watson, among eight Americans to came to the Australian Open to get ready for the Presidents Cup next week at Royal Melbourne, birdied his last three holes for a 70 and was three shots behind.

“He has more shots in the bag than me right now,” Day said. “He hits some shots that made me go, ‘Wow.’ I feel that I can play a lot of different shots, but some of the shots that guy hits, especially around the greens, are amazing. He is always in control and always composed.”

Robert Allenby, who has played with Woods many times over the years, saw a game that was starting to look vaguely familiar.

“Probably in the last six months, that’s the best I’ve seen him play,” Allenby said. “I’ve seen him at his absolute best … that was a different human being. He’s on his way back, that’s for sure.

“I think where he is right now is good enough to win. I think you’ll find if he keeps going the way he is going, he’ll win over the weekend.”

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