MIAMI (Reuters) - Looking fully in charge of his game, Tiger Woods fired an outstanding seven-under-par 65 to open up a two-shot lead after the second round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship on Friday.
Woods stands at 13-under for the tournament with Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell two strokes back in second place after a bogey-free 65 in good scoring conditions on the Blue Monster course at Doral.
McDowell has not made a bogey in his 36 holes so far and, unlike his compatriot and world number one Rory McIlroy, looks very much at ease with his game.
McIlroy, however, will take heart from a much more solid display on Friday, his three-under 69 contained six birdies but was slightly spoiled by three-putting for a bogey on the 18th.
The world number one looked far more comfortable from the tee in particular but paid the price for some sloppy work on and around the greens.
Tied in 32nd place and at two-under for the tournament, McIlroy is 11 shots off the lead but will surely take some encouragement after breaking 70 for the first time this year.
Phil Mickelson, who lost out in a memorable ‘Duel at Doral’ with Woods in the old Ford Open in 2005, also put himself firmly in contention with a 67 that leaves him three strokes off the lead and in a share of third place with fellow American Steve Stricker (67).
Defending Masters champion Bubba Watson (69) and Sweden’s Freddie Jacobson (69) were a further shot back, at nine-under.
But if Woods can replicate his Friday form he has a great chance of adding to his January victory at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.
Woods found nine of 14 fairways, 15 of 18 greens and needed just 25 putts as he cruised around a course where he won in this tournament in 2007.
“I feel like I am playing well, I probably hit the ball better at Torrey but I am putting better here,” said Woods, who has made 17 birdies this week.
Editing by Frank Pingue