Woods shares lead with Hoge entering 3rd round at Wyndham

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Posted: Aug 22, 2015 4:55 AM
Woods shares lead with Hoge entering 3rd round at Wyndham

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Tiger Woods has the most recognizable name in golf. Far fewer people know about rookie Tom Hoge.

Including Woods himself.

They'll spend the third round together Saturday in a most unlikely final pairing at the Wyndham Championship.

Woods shot a 5-under 65 on Friday and shared the second-round lead with Hoge at 11-under 129. Hoge shot a 67.

They make quite the intriguing pair.

Woods is chasing his first victory in more than two years, one that would undoubtedly send him into the FedEx Cup playoffs.

The 26-year-old Hoge spent the past three years on the Web.com Tour. This is his 27th career PGA Tour event — and all but one of those have come this year.

When asked if he would recognize Hoge if he saw him, Woods responded: "No, I wouldn't. What is it, or him?"

"I look on the Champions Tour leaderboard and I know every one of those guys because I played against them and I played with them," Woods said. "Now I come out here, I don't really know a lot of people."

Woods followed his best round since 2013 — a first-day 64 — with one almost as good.

He made his big move up the leaderboard on the back nine, with birdies on Nos. 12 and 13 and an eagle on the par-5 15th that gave him a share of the lead.

"I just couldn't get anything out of my rounds (before this tournament) and a couple lucky bounces here, take advantage of those opportunities — it's just the flow," Woods said.

Davis Love III and Chad Campbell were one stroke back. Campbell shot 65 and Love had 66.

Brandt Snedeker matched the tournament record with a 61 that put him in a group of (six) players two strokes behind Woods and Hoge.

But for the second straight day, the big story at Sedgefield Country Club was Woods.

He had missed the cut in three straight majors and this year hasn't finished better than a tie for 17th at the Masters. At No. 187 on the FedEx Cup points list, he would definitely crack the top 125 with a win and qualify for the Barclays next week in New Jersey. Depending on how the math works out, a solo second-place finish also might be enough.

He took advantage of some prime scoring conditions during the first round, shooting that 64 on a course softened by showers that morning. That left him two strokes off the lead.

And then, playing under a hot afternoon sun that sped up those undulating greens, Woods almost matched it.

"I wasn't quite as sharp as I was yesterday," he said.

He capped that run of consecutive birdies with a 25-foot putt on the 13th that drew a mighty roar from the huge gallery.

Then came his eagle.

He placed his second shot about 10 feet behind the hole, and after his downhill putt fell into the hole, he followed with his trademark fist pump.

And as strong as his round was, it easily could have been even better.

He settled for birdie on the par-5 fifth when his 10-foot eagle putt lipped out, then missed a 15-foot birdie putt on the next hole. He left a 10-foot birdie putt an inch from the hole on the ninth.

"I've shot 59 and I left a couple shots out there," Woods said. "The great thing about golf, you can always get a little bit better."

Love, a former North Carolina player whose two wins in this tournament came across town at Forest Oaks Country Club, played a practice round with Woods on Tuesday. Several times this week, Woods has referred to pointers Love gave him.

Love reeled off three straight birdies early in his round before closing with 10 straight pars.

"It will look boring on the card ... but I made some nice putts for par, and some good up and downs, and kept the round together," Love said.

Hoge, who was born about 70 miles away in Statesville but grew up in North Dakota, shared the first-round lead with William McGirt and two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton. Hoge followed his opening-round 62 with another low number with birdies on three of his final five holes.

"Obviously, a new position for me," Hoge said.

Snedeker — who won the Wyndham in 2007, its last year at Forest Oaks — shot just the fifth 61 in the history of the event and the first since Tim Herron's three years ago.

He finished his round with back-to-back birdies on the eighth and ninth holes, closing by sinking a 50-foot putt.

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