Twilight Zone turns dark for World Challenge contenders
Tiger Woods speaks to reporters after his 70. Picture Fran Caffrey,

Tiger Woods speaks to reporters after his 70. Picture Fran Caffrey,

Tiger Woods duffed his fifth pitch of the week as playing partner Patrick Reed shot 63 to move into contention. But the second round of the suspended Hero World Challenge will be remembered for the near shambolic scenes played out in darkness at Isleworth last night.

Following a 90-minute rain delay, the last three groups tried deperately to get finished to avoid returning to the course early on Saturday.

But only Henrik Stenson and Graeme McDowell managed it — and at some cost to the Portrush man and the image of this $3.5m silly season event hosted by Woods.

Sprinting occasionally over the closing holes before running to the 18th tee to his tee shot in the belief that the hooter would sound at any moment, McDowell bunkered his drive, failed to get out with his first attempt and then two putted for a bogey five after a stunning third, carding a one over 73 that left him tied for 14th in the 18-man field propped up by Woods.

It was up to the players to decide whether or not they could continue, but while Steve Stricker showed some sense on the 18th green when he refused to try and hit a long range putt, explaining that he simply couldn't see the line, others stubbornly kept going.

Frank Nobilo called the carry on "unprofessional" in his television commentary.

Playing partner Rickie Fowler finished out anyway, two-putting in the near total darkness for a 70 that left him two strokes behind clubhouse leader Stenson on seven under.

In the final group, overnight leader Jordan Spieth and Zach Johnson made it, somewhat unbelievably, to the 18th despite not being able to see very much at all.

The American duo had fed off each other on the back nine with Spieth five under for the round when he eventually decided to call it a day just a few feet from the edge of the 18th green.

Johnson had just three-putted the 17th for a bogey, missing a short par putt in the gathering gloom, and would make another costly bogey at the last for a 71 that relegated him to tied eighth, five behind Spieth on six under.

Spieth, who won the Australian Open last Sunday was two shots clear of Stenson on 11 under at the time, refused to go on having led this cavalry charge down the stretch.

He felt he couldn't hit a tricky pitch from a muddy lie in the dark from just short of the green, adding that he also couldn't see the flag, which was just 30 feet away. He also said he wasn't particularly looking forward to putting either.

Reed was out in the first group of the day with Woods and got to eight under for his round after 10 holes when thoughts of shooting 59 crossed his mind and he did well to par the 11th before eventually bogeying the 12th.

The American Ryder Cup player then birdied the 13th and 16th for a 63 to end the day tied for third on eight under with Justin Rose, who played his last 12 holes in nine under having followed birdies at the first and third with a bogey at the fourth and a double bogey at the fifth.

Woods was level through the turn having birdied the first and bogeyed the ninth and then showed some signs of life before undoing most of his hard work.

While he eagled the 13th and birdied the 14th and 16th to get to four under for the day, he missed the 18th green left, flubbed a pitch a few yards and took three more to get down from there, finishing with a double bogey six for his 70.

McDowell, who was well placed after an opening 68, never got much going on a long course and bogeyed the second and fourth.

A birdie at the 10th failed to spark him and his closing bogey for a 73 left him tied for 14th on three under with Woods propping up the field on three over despite his 70.

Hero World Challenge

1. Jordan Spieth  -11 (17th)*
2. Henrik Stenson -9
T-3. Patrick Reed -8
T-3. Justin Rose    -8
T-5. Bubba Watson -7
T-5. Jimmy Walker -7
T-5. Rickie Fowler -7