Tiger Woods shot a 7-under-par 65 for a share of the lead halfway through the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Orlando, Fla. Charlie Wi was also at 10 under.
ORLANDO, Fla. — Even when he was winning with regularity, Tiger Woods seldom made it look this easy at Bay Hill.
His longest putt for a par was on the 18th hole, 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-par 65, giving him a share of the lead at 10-under 134 with Charlie Wi (68).
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It was the first time in 30 months on the PGA Tour that Woods has been a leader going into the weekend.
“It was a solid round of golf,” said Woods, a six-time winner at Bay Hill. “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.”
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.
On the PGA Tour, Woods last was atop the leaderboard entering the weekend at the Tour Championship in September 2009.
“We’ve got a long way to go,” he said. “It’s not like it’s over right now. We’ve got 36 holes to go.”
On March 11, Woods couldn’t finish the last round at Doral because of soreness and swelling in his left Achilles tendon.
“I saw him on television at Doral and didn’t look good there,” said Ernie Els, who was in the same group as Woods at Bay Hill and when Woods shot a 62 on the last day of the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. “Today he was on, and today was the same as I saw at the Honda — very on.”
Woods said he was not hitting his irons as well before going to work with swing coach Sean Foley. A straighter, tighter ball flight has led to more distance — and more adjustments.
“My bad days are not as bad as they used to be,” Woods said.
It was the fifth time Woods has had at least a share of the 36-hole lead at Bay Hill, and he has failed to win once from that position.
Ryan Moore (71) of Puyallup was tied for 23rd place at 2 under.
• Tom Pernice was at 7 under through 12 holes in the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic, a 50-and-older Champions Tour event in Saucier where play was suspended because of darkness.
Seattle native Fred Couples was tied for 10th place at 3 under through 12 holes.
• Camilo Benedetti shot an 8-under 63 to lead Brenden Pappas (67) by one shot through two rounds of the Nationwide Tour’s Chitimacha Louisiana Open in Broussard. Benedetti was at 13-under 129.
Andres Gonzales (68) of Olympia was tied for 38th at 5 under.
• Top-ranked Yani Tseng of Taiwan shot a 4-under 68 to build a two-stroke lead after two rounds in the LPGA Tour Kia Classic in Carlsbad, Calif.
Tseng was at 9-under 135, and Se Ri Pak (66) was at 7 under.
Tseng ended her second round with a 15-foot birdie putt.
“When I get to 18, I just told myself, ‘Let’s hit three good shots and I can save 30 minutes of practice today,’ ” Tseng said.