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Woods may be wild, but he's in lead

July 04, 2009|Associated Press

The best of Tiger Woods came Friday when his game was falling apart.

Woods lived up to his hopes of being a "greedy host" when he salvaged his round during a shaky stretch in the middle and shot a four-under-par 66 to take a one-shot lead at his AT&T National with the lowest 36-hole score ever at Congressional Country Club.

"Either I hit it pretty close to the hole, within 10 feet, or I was missing greens," Woods said. "So it was a little bit of two ends today. It was nice to actually get a score out of it."

Woods was at 10-under 130, breaking by one shot the previous 36-hole score at Congressional set last year by Tom Pernice Jr. and Jeff Overton. Woods had a one-shot lead over Rod Pampling, who had a 64 to boost his chances of qualifying for the British Open.

Defending champion Anthony Kim couldn't build on his course-record 62 from the opening round. He played in the afternoon at Bethesda, Md., after Woods set the target, and caught him briefly before missing too many fairways and having to settle for a 70 that put him two behind.

Jim Furyk, adding more star power to the leaderboard, had a 67 and was alone in fourth at seven under.

While some of Woods' birdies were pure, such as five-iron within four feet of a tucked flag on the 13th, it was his worst golf that showed why Woods contends as often as he does.

He twice hit tee shots into the rough and couldn't get to the green. Another tee shot went into the bunker. He missed the green at a par three on the wrong side of the hole. From the middle of the fairway, he hit a miserable shot into a hollow of thick grass.

Woods played that five-hole stretch in one under.

"That's why the guy is at such a high level," said U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover, who played with Woods and shot 66 to join the group at five-under 135. "When things are going bad, he can rely on his short game. He just doesn't waste any shots. If he's losing shots, it's because of a bad break or a bad lie."

Woods will play in the final pairing of the third round with Pampling, who has two weeks left to try to qualify for the British Open but would need at least a runner-up finish this week to have a chance.

"He can be playing great and then you really don't have a lot of chance of beating him," Pampling said of Woods. "And then he's just playing so-so and he's still right there with a chance to win coming down the last nine holes. He's just amazing how consistent he is."

Two tied at LPGA

With a birdie putt on the final hole, Laura Diaz tied Sarah Kemp for the second-round lead in the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic at Sylvania, Ohio.

The birdie gave Diaz a four-under 67 and a share of the lead with Kemp (63) at 11-under 131.

Kemp had never led in her year and a half as a pro, while Diaz is winless since two victories in 2002.

Morgan Pressel (68) was a shot back, and Natalie Gulbis (65), Seon Hwa Lee (63) and Jiyai Shin (67) followed at nine under.

Michelle Wie, seeking her first professional victory, three-putted the final hole for double bogey and a 69, leaving her three strokes behind along with Suzann Pettersen (69), Lindsey Wright (68), Kyeong Bae (64) and Eunjung Yi (66).

Wie needs to win the Farr to get into the field for next week's U.S. Women's Open at Saucon Valley in Bethlehem, Pa.

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