Tiger Woods never felt so good after playing so badly.
Taking two shots to escape a plugged lie in a bunker put him a hole. Four straight bogeys on the back nine Friday in the Quicken Loans National buried his chances of making it to the weekend. Over two rounds at Congressional, he missed 16 greens and managed to save par only three times.
Woods was back — just not for very long.
Playing for the first time in more than three months because of back surgery, he had a four-over-par 75 on Friday and missed the cut by four shots. It was only the 10th time in his PGA Tour career that Woods missed a 36-hole cut, and the first time he didn't sound overly distressed.
"I hate to say it, but I'm really encouraged by what happened this week," said Woods, whose next event figures to be the British Open. "I missed the cut by four shots — that's a lot. But the fact that what I was able to do physically, and the speed I had and the distance that I was hitting the golf ball again, I had not done that in a very long time. Felt great today. Then, as I said, I made so many little mistakes … all the little things that I know I can fix. But as I said, that's very encouraging."
Marc Leishman of Australia turned potential bogey into unlikely birdie when he holed out from 127 yards on the par-five ninth hole on his way to a five-under 66 and a four-way share of the lead going into the weekend. Oliver Goss, another Aussie who is making his second pro start, had a bogey-free 66 and joined Leishman at six-under 136 along with Ricky Barnes (69) and Patrick Reed (68), who has won twice this year.