Tiger defies critics , is back in the hunt

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Tiger Woods defied the critics to revive his bid for a fifth Masters title with a blistering back nine on Friday.

Tiger Woods defied the critics to revive his bid for a fifth Masters title with a bliastering back nine that set him up to card a second-round 6-under 66 at tricky Augusta National.

The 35-year-old, who opened with a scrappy 71, gave little indication of what was to follow as he wiped out two birdies with three bogeys over an erratic first seven holes.

But then he ignited his charge with three straight birdies from the eighth as he suddenly found rhythm and unerring accuracy with his irons.

After a critical par-saving putt at 11, the World No 7 kept his momentum flowing with further birdies at 13, 14 and 15, and he then converted another pin-seeking approach at the last to move within three of Rory McIlroy on seven under.

“I’m three back. I’m right where I need to be,” said Woods. “Hopefully on Saturday I can piece together another good round, stay patient and plod my way along.

“I don’t know what happened. I just kept staying patient. That was all I kept trying to do. I pieced together a couple of birdies and got hot.

“I’m just trying to put myself in the mix come Sunday. It’s irrelevant who is there. My whole job is to get myself there with a chance with nine holes to go.

“That’s what we have always done. I’ve been successful at it in the past by doing it that way.”

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