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WINDERMERE, Fla. – Jordan Spieth was on his way to the practice range at Isleworth when he saw Patrick Reed, dressed in black trousers and a red shirt.
Those are the colors Woods has made famous — his Sunday colors since he turned pro. Reed was playing with Woods for the first time Friday at the Hero World Challenge.
Spieth knows all about the fearless nature of Reed because they were partners in the Ryder Cup. That's why he turned to caddie Michael Greller when he saw Reed and told him, "Of course, Patrick is wearing red and black today."
It wasn't an act of showmanship. Reed has started wearing the ensembles on Friday every now and then. Considering he was playing with the guy he grew up idolizing, this would be considered a special occasion.
"I know he was excited when we got finished yesterday and he saw he was paired with Tiger," Spieth said.
Reed showed just how much. With three straight birdies, a 29 on the front nine at Isleworth and a 9-under 63, Reed not only beat Woods by seven shots, he moved into contention going into the weekend.
Spieth was at 11-under par and chose to return Saturday morning to finish the rain-delayed second round. He had a two-shot lead over Henrik Stenson, who sputtered at the end of his round in the mud and darkness and shot 68. Reed and Justin Rose (64) were another shot back.
Reed became the third player this year to shoot a 63 while playing with Woods.
"I never played with Tiger before, besides a practice round at the British," Reed said. "It was good to finally be able to play with him, especially in competition. It was a lot of fun. We had a good time. I felt like we enjoyed ourselves out there, and luckily I played well."
Woods was better that his opening 77, except for a sour ending because of another flubbed chip.
Woods was making progress toward his goal of getting back to even par for the tournament. He hit a 5-iron out of the rough to 4 feet for eagle on the par-5 13th, followed with a flip wedge into 3 feet for birdie on the 14th, and he hit another wedge to 5 feet for birdie on the 16th.
But after the rain, Woods had mud on his ball in the fairway and could only smile as it sailed left and long of the green. What followed was another bad chip — that's six already in two rounds — that traveled only about 10 feet. He wound up with a double bogey for a 70. He remained in last place, 14 shots behind Spieth.
"It's not very good," Woods said of his short game.
The best golf in the group came from Reed, who wasn't even sure he would be in the tournament until Jim Furyk withdrew last week. And if there was ever a time to get excited about opening with a 73, this would be the occasion. It meant Reed would be paired with Woods, in the first group out.
Reed opened with three straight birdies. He rolled in a 40-foot eagle putt on the seventh, and he went out in 29 after making a 15-foot birdie putt at No. 9.
After his 7-foot birdie putt at No. 10, Reed even began "thinking in the 50s," though that ended quickly. With a sand wedge from the rough, his ball came back off a hill behind the 12th green with so much steam that Reed begged it to "hit the microphone." That would have been the only thing to keep it from rolling into the water, and it missed. He made bogey.
Rory McIlroy shot a 63 with Woods in the opening round at Dubai this year (Woods shot 68). Spieth played with Woods at Torrey Pines and shot 63 on the North Course (Woods shot a 71).
Woods is playing for the first time since Aug. 9 at the PGA Championship. He took nearly four months off to strengthen his muscle structure, and during the time away, he hired a new swing coach.
His swing looks fine. His short game does not.
"He had a couple of loose shots here and there, but he knows what he's doing," Reed said. "When was the last time he played a competitive tournament? It's been awhile."
That's not the case for Spieth or Stenson.
Spieth won by six shots last week in the Australian Open. Stenson won the World Tour Championship in Dubai the week before.
Stenson had the lead after his sixth birdie at No. 13. But he make bogey on the 15th and 16th and had to settle for a 68.
"You're not winning anything on Friday," he said. "We're still at the races."