A pair of Texans lead, Tiger’s travails at 15 and Lucas Glover comes up aces among 5 things to know at Hero World Challenge

NASSAU, Bahamas — The world No. 1 is reminding us at the end of the year just how good he can be.

On Friday, Scottie Scheffler made eight birdies en route to shooting 6-under 66 at Albany Club to share the lead with Jordan Spieth at 9-under 135 at the halfway point of the Hero World Challenge. Brian Harman was alone in third a stroke back and Tiger Woods, who is making his first start since the Masters, roared to an opening-nine 32 before his round stalled and he settled for a 2-under 70.

There was a lot to like about Scheffler’s round —the low one of the day by the 20-man field — but when asked to name what he did best, he said, “I drove it well, gave myself a lot of chances. Yeah, that’s probably the thing I did best.”

Scheffler, who opened in 69, made birdie on three of his first seven holes before making a bogey on No. 8 after getting what he called a bad break. He heated up on the back nine with four birdies in a five-hole stretch beginning at No. 11.

“Kind of got into a nice groove there,” he said. Hit a good iron shot into 10, two good shots into 11, good iron shot on 12 and then I just hit a lot of quality shots and got some looks. That’s really just what I did best.”

Scheffler is trying to end the year on a high note. He’s a candidate for Player of the Year after notching two wins but hasn’t hoisted a trophy since the Players Championship in March.

Here are four more things to know from the second round of the Hero World Challenge.

Spieth seeks first win of season

2023 Hero World Challenge
Jordan Spieth of the United States plays his shot from the 18th fairway during the second round of the Hero World Challenge at Albany Golf Course on December 01, 2023 in Nassau, . (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images,)

His game may feel rusty after an extended layoff since the Ryder Cup, but Jordan Spieth managed to keep a clean card on Friday. He followed up a 68 in the opening round with a 5-under 67 on Friday.

“For a day where I didn’t have the putter really going and/or didn’t really have any – I had a few kind of makeable ones that I missed, it’s really nice to see the rest of the game there,” he said. “And I felt like I hit good putts and some days they go in, some days they don’t, but I felt like I stroked it better today, and that’s a good sign.”

That could be a bad sign for the rest of the field. Spieth won this tournament in 2014 when it was played at Isleworth but hasn’t done better than a T-3 at Albany. He’s also seeking his first win since the 2022 RBC Heritage.

The Travails of Tiger at 15

2023 Hero World Challenge
Tiger Woods of the United States plays his shot from the 13th tee during the second round of the Hero World Challenge at Albany Golf Course on December 01, 2023 in Nassau, Bahamas. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Tiger Woods nearly made double bogey at the par-5 15th, the easiest hole for the rest of the field, again.

Woods carded a seven on Thursday after hitting a crooked tee shot into a bush. He elected not to take a penalty drop and barely advanced the ball on his second shot before chipping out backward.

PGA Tour Radio announcers Brian Katrek and John Maginnes were joking there was no way Tiger could make double again after he hit his second shot near the green. Or could he?

Shortsided in the left greenside bunker in two at 15, he bladed his third over the green and then putted back into the bunker. Asked to name the last time he’d done that, Tiger wracked his brain and came up empty.

“Not that I can remember,” he said. “That was not a good putt. It was downwind, and I hit it way too hard. It got going on the wind and got going on the grain and was gone.”

He splashed to 20 feet and then drilled the putt in the center of the cup for a bogey. Do we call that a one-putt or a three-putt, Katrek wondered.

“I was obviously ticked,” Woods said of 15. “At the end of the day, it was better than yesterday.”

Thomas battles back

2023 Hero World Challenge
Justin Thomas of the United States plays his shot from the fourth tee during the second round of the Hero World Challenge at Albany Golf Course on December 01, 2023 in Nassau, Bahamas. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

On Thursday, Justin Thomas was 3 over after eight holes. But he figured there were too many holes still remaining to be played in the tournament to pack it in and he dug himself out of a hole. He played his next 19 holes in 10 under.

Thomas came out swinging on Friday, making three straight birdies and by the time he made the turn, he had the lead at 7 under.

“I could have shot 7, 8, 9 under on that front nine as wild as it is,” he said.

He stumbled with bogeys at Nos. 11 and 12 but bounced back with birdies at Nos. 14 and 15 and signed for 67.

“I feel like I have good control of my game right now,” he said. “I just kind of, I’m in a good head space, just kind of staying patient and I feel like I can go on a little run of birdies at any point in time. Really just feel like if I drive it like I did today, then I have a lot of birdie opportunities over the weekend for sure.”

Drinks are on Glover

2023 Hero World Challenge
Lucas Glover of the United States catches a ball on the range during the first round of the Hero World Challenge at Albany Golf Course on November 30, 2023 in Nassau, Bahamas. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Lucas Glover had the shot of the round. The winner of two PGA Tour events this season chose 9-iron on the 168-yard par-3 17th hole and he chose wisely.

Glover told Golfweek it was his eighth career ace on Tour – five in tournament competition and three during practice rounds. Strangely enough, he has never had a hole-in-one outside of Tour events.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek