SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - It was just like old times for Tiger Woods at a rain-sodden Torrey Pines on Friday as the former world number one surged into an early three-shot lead in the second round of the Farmers Insurance Open.
Six-times champion Woods eagled the par-five 18th, his ninth hole of the day, en route to a seven-under-par 65 on the easier North Course, one of two layouts hosting the fourth PGA Tour event of the season.
Back at a venue where he has always felt extremely comfortable, the 37-year-old American took advantage of the four reachable par-fives as he also carded six birdies and a lone bogey to finish at 11-under 133.
“If you handle the par-fives, there’s four (shots) right there,” Woods told Golf Channel after covering the par-five holes in five under.
“But it’s tough out there,” he added after playing his final hole in a heavy downpour. “The greens are not very good at all out there, and two-footers are missable.
“We’ve got a long way to go and this golf course is not going to get easier with this rain. The rough is going to get sticky. It’s a pretty tough course.”
Britain’s Ross Fisher, competing on the PGA Tour this year for the first time as a full member, was one of three players at eight under and had seven holes remaining on the tougher South layout.
Woods’ playing partner Nick Watney was a further stroke back after carding a four-birdie 68 while fellow American Charles Howell III was among a group of four knotted at six under after shooting a 72 on the South course.
Most eyes, however, were firmly focused on the progress of Woods, who has won the Farmers Insurance Open six times at Torrey Pines, along with the 2008 U.S. Open at the same venue.
Three strokes off the pace overnight after opening with a 68 on the South layout, Woods missed an eight-foot birdie putt on his opening hole, the par-four 10th.
However he recovered with birdies at the 14th and 17th, where he rolled in a 25-footer, to sit just two strokes off the early lead.
Woods then eagled the 18th, after hitting a superb second shot to six feet, to join Howell in a two-way tie at the top before forging three ahead with further birdies at the first and second.
A brilliant approach into the seventh, where his ball spun back and hit the flagstick before settling five feet away, set Woods up for another birdie but he bogeyed the par-four eighth after finding a fairway bunker off the tee.
However he immediately recovered by reaching the green in two at the par-five ninth and safely two-putting from 50 feet to record his sixth birdie of the day.
The cut was projected to fall at two-under 142 with former major winners Angel Cabrera, Keegan Bradley and Stewart Cink among those likely to miss out.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Frank Pingue