Woods fires 65 for share of Bay Hill lead

ORLANDO, Fla. — Even when he was winning with regularity, Tiger Woods rarely made it look this easy at Bay Hill.

He putted for birdie on every hole.

His longest putt for par was on the 18th, when his birdie try caught the right edge of the cup and left him about 3 feet coming back.

If the game looked familiar, so did his position Friday in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Woods ran off four straight birdies early in his round, then made back-to-back birdies late in the afternoon for a 7-under 65, giving him a share of the lead with Charlie Wi. It was the first time in 30 months on the PGA Tour that Woods has been atop the leaderboard going into the weekend.

"It was a solid round of golf," Woods said. "I felt like I actually hit it better yesterday than I did today. I've made more putts today, for sure. I felt great over the putter. My speed was good. I left a couple putts dead short, right in the center of the hole. Actually, it really could have been a really low round. A lot of positives today."

Wi, the 54-hole leader at Pebble Beach this year, rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt on his last hole for a 68 to join Woods at 10-under 134.

Former U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell had an eagle-par-birdie finish for a 63, while Jason Dufner extended his solid play on the Florida swing with a 69. They were one shot behind at 135.

Woods last had the 36-hole lead in any tour event at the Australian Open in November, and he tied for third. On the PGA Tour, go all the way back to the Tour Championship in September 2009 to find the last time he was atop the leaderboard going into the weekend.

It looks even more ominous at Bay Hill, where Woods is a six-time winner.

"I want to win. Yes, absolutely," he said. "We've got a long way to go. It's not like it's over right now. We've got 36 holes to go."

Woods at least is in better shape than he was two weeks ago. His future looked as muddled as ever when Woods was taken off the golf course in a cart at Doral because of soreness and swelling in his left Achilles tendon, the same injury that forced him to miss three months and two majors a year ago.

One week later, he was practicing at Augusta National. Now, he's the player everyone is chasing on the weekend.

"I saw him on television at Doral and didn't look good there," said Ernie Els, who played with Woods at Bay Hill, and played with him when Woods shot 62 on the last day of the Honda Classic. "Today he was on, and today was the same as I saw at the Honda — very on."

Kia Classic

At Carlsbad, Calif., top-ranked Yani Tseng shot a 4-under 68 to open a two-stroke lead over Se Ri Pak after the second round of the Kia Classic.

Tseng, tied for the first-round lead after a 67, had a 9-under 135 total on La Costa's Legends Course.

Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic

At Saucier, Miss., Tom Pernice Jr. topped the leaderboard at 7 under through 12 holes when first-round play in the soggy Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic was suspended because of darkness.

The 52-year-old Pernice is making his first Champions Tour of the year after playing eight PGA Tour events this season. Chien Soon Lu and David Eger — the winner of the inaugural tournament in 2010 — were a stroke back. Lu played 16 holes, and Eger completed 15.

Chitimacha Louisiana Open

At Broussard, La., Camilo Benedetti carded an 8-under 63 in the second round to grab the 36-hole lead.

Benedetti has posted a career-best 13-under 129 total and holds the lead for the first time in his Nationwide Tour career. The former Florida Gator rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt at the final hole to wrestle the halfway lead away from South Africa's Brenden Pappas, who shot his own 63 on Thursday and backed it up with a 67 in round two.

Jason Allred shot a 1-over 72 and missed cut. His even-par 142 was four shots off the cut line. He made two bogeys and a birdie and the rest pars.

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