Woods showed some uncharacteristic jitters with a bogey-bogey start.
But he shot a blistering back nine, with five birdies and some spectacular work around the green. Indeed, Woods seemed to be putting better than ever, and that could be the key to a victory for him.
“Unfortunately, I got off to a horrific start. But I fought back,” Woods told reporters afterward.
McIlroy, who is known for fast starts, was hitting on all cylinders.
He’s shot a cumulative 55-under par in tournaments this year, according to ESPN.
Last week, he shot a course record 64 at the Scottish Open. But he’s failed to win any of his last three events. He blames it on what he calls, his “second-round thing.”
His impressive first round scoring is usually off-set by a dismal second round. He’s shot 15 over in tournaments this year.
Still, all eyes were on Woods following his March 31 back surgery that caused him to miss The Masters and the U.S. Open.
Woods said he was playing without pain. “The back is good. I’m only going to get stronger and faster,” he said.
His score was enough to keep him in the hunt, but he finished behind a half-dozen or so players, including Italian Matteo Manassero, who finished second with a 67. Brothers Edoardo and Francesco Molinari finished with 68s.
Sergio Garcia, Jim Furyk and Brooks Koepka also finished a stroke ahead of Woods.