Tiger Woods shoots 66, extends his lead to 4 shots

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Tiger Woods got off to a blazing start and a solid putting stroke enabled him to play bogey-free in the second round of the Chevron World Challenge Friday for a 6-under 66 and a four-shot lead going into the weekend of his final tournament this year.

Woods was at 13-under 131, his best 36-hole score this year by six shots. And the four-shot lead over U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell had to be a refreshing change for a guy who has been at least nine shots back through 36 holes in seven tournaments this year.

“I’ve been here before, so it’s not a strange feeling,” Woods said. “It’s just one of those things where tomorrow is the same game plan, just go out there and plot my way along and take care of the par 5s.” (Nike Victory Red Tour Driver )

Woods still has two rounds to show true signs that he is on his way back, and he has kept it simple at Sherwood — attack the par 5s and limit the mistakes.

As is often the case with anyone at any tournament, however, the putting stood out the most.

Not only did he make some key par saves and two good birdie putts inside 12 feet in his great start — he one-putted the first four holes and two-putted for birdie on the fifth — he constantly ran the ball some 3 to 4 feet beyond the hole.

Woods attributed that to having too many putts above the hole, although there was a confident look to his putting that had been missing for so much of the year. He no longer looked concerned by facing those par putts, and it showed. Seven times, he ran a birdie putt at least 3 feet by the hole and made them all. ( NIKE Victory Red Forged Wedge )

“I hit a lot of pure putts,” Woods said. “I wasn’t quite as sharp as yesterday, but I was able to piece it together and figure out how to hit better shots when I was struggling a little bit. I hit a couple loose shots and all of a sudden, ‘OK, this is what I need to do to fix it.’ And I fixed it. So that was nice.”

Still, he missed only two greens in regulation, and the closest he came to bogey was on the final hole when he ran his birdie attempt some 5 feet by the hole. He made that for a bogey-free round, a rarity this year. ( discount golf clubs )

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