Slow and steady leads the race -- at least through two rounds and especially when the golf course is soggy.
Jim Furyk shot an uneventful one-under-par 71 Friday to keep the lead after two rounds of the Chevron World Challenge, while Camilo Villegas, K.J. Choi and Anthony Kim moved into contention with decidedly more drama.
They finished two shots behind Furyk's two-day total of five-under 139 at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks.
Fred Couples and Steve Stricker were another shot back at two under, followed by Vijay Singh, Boo Weekley and Hunter Mahan at one under.
"I hung in there, that's the best I can say," said Furyk, who started with eight pars, birdied the ninth and 16th holes and bogeyed the 18th. "I managed to limit the mistakes.
"It was a decent score," Furyk said, adding that "I really didn't worry about how anyone else was playing."
Not a bad idea, given how the other contenders were maneuvering around Sherwood, a 7,027-yard course that winds through a canyon in the upscale Lake Sherwood area a few miles south of Highway 101.
Villegas, a 26-year-old Colombian, shot a sizzling five-under 67 -- the best round in the 16-player field -- that included an eagle at the par-five 11th, a 522-yard hole he reached in two.
For Villegas, the round was a seven-shot swing from his opening 74 on Thursday, and "I swung the club a lot better than yesterday," he said.
"Obviously, when you start birdie, birdie, birdie, it's a good feeling," said Villegas, a two-time winner this season and one of the PGA Tour's rising stars, who often favors the retro look by wearing a wide white belt to match his white shoes.
Villegas also has one of the oddest methods of reading greens, in which he nearly lies completely face down so that his eyes are only inches above the surface.
Kim, meanwhile, birdied the opening hole and then couldn't buy another birdie putt despite several chances on the back nine. Finally, on the par-three 17th, he dropped one for birdie to finish with a 70.
And Choi had the wildest round of the day.
The South Korean began with three consecutive birdies -- and a share of the lead -- then tried to throw the tournament away before moving back into contention again.
He had bogeys on the fourth, eighth and ninth holes and a double-bogey six on the par-four sixth hole.
But Choi never lost his cool and rebounded with a birdie at 11, an eagle at the par-five 16th and another birdie at 17 to finish with a 71.
"I was patient on the last three holes, three under par," Choi said. "It's a fantastic finish and I'm very happy."
Sherwood is hosting the 10th year of the Challenge, otherwise known as "Tiger's Tournament" because it's hosted by the world's preeminent player, Tiger Woods, and benefits his charitable foundation.
Woods, who has won four of the previous nine Challenges, isn't playing this year as he recovers from knee surgery.
The course was soaked by Wednesday's rain, and Villegas was among those who wouldn't have minded if the players had been allowed to clean the mud off their balls in the fairway -- what weekend players know as "winter rules."
Instead, they had to play "ball down," meaning they couldn't clean off any mud unless the ball was embedded into the turf on impact.
"I don't really understand why we're playing the ball down," Villegas said. "I don't really get what we're trying to prove here. I mean, it's 16 guys, the end of the year, it's a fun tournament."
Couples moved into contention with a 69, making four birdies on the first 12 holes.
He also had his first encounter with the PGA Tour's random drug-testing policy after the opening round Thursday, a situation that left him with mixed feelings.
He had taken a bathroom break after the 14th hole, and then needed two hours after his round to provide the required urine sample, Couples told reporters Friday.
"If it happens Sunday and I miss my flight, I'll be ballistic," he said.
"Do I have a problem with [the policy]? Not really, but . . . maybe if they drew my name [for a test] before I played, it would not bother me."
The tour's testing policy began in July.