Saturday, May 19, 2018

Tiger Woods leads Cadillac at Doral

DORA — Tiger Woods struggled on the practice range, and he didn't feel much better two holes into his second round at the Cadillac Championship. He would not have guessed he would set a personal record for birdies, much less wind up with a two-shot lead Friday.

"All I need is one shot," he said. "And as soon as I feel it on one, I can pretty much carry through. And I did that."

It was a 4-iron on the par-3 fourth hole, the toughest on the Blue Monster.

Woods hit a bullet with a slight fade at the left edge of the green and heard the crowd cheer as the slope and the grain took the ball to within 4 feet for birdie.

And just like that, he was on his way.

In a World Golf Championships event with the biggest names in the hunt, Woods ran off six birdies in an eight-hole stretch around the turn and shot 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead over former U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell.

Woods has 17 birdies in two rounds, his most ever on the PGA Tour, though that wasn't the most important number.

"It left me a two-shot lead," said Woods, whose 13-under 131 is his lowest 36-hole score on tour since the 2009 AT&T National.

Woods followed the 4-iron with a wedge he stuffed to inside 2 feet. He added a collection of 10- to 15-foot birdie putts and ended his big run with another 4-iron high and soft to 15 feet on the 224-yard 13th hole. Those par 3s ranked as the two toughest at Doral on Friday, and he birdied them both.

A birdie-birdie finish by McDowell gave him 67 and prevented a dream final group for the weekend at Doral — Woods and Phil Mickelson.

Mickelson hit a 9-iron that stopped inches from dropping for a hole-in-one on the par-3 ninth. He shot 67 and was three back, along with Steve Stricker (67).

Rory McIlroy shot 69, ending with a sloppy three-putt bogey. He is 11 back after his first round under par this year.

PGA: Andres Romero shot a second straight 7-under 65 to move to 14-under 130 and a one-stroke lead in the Puerto Rico Open in Rio Grande. Scott Brown (63) was second.

Tampa bay championship: Ernie Els and Geoff Ogilvy were late additions to the field Friday for next week's PGA Tour tournament in Palm Harbor. Last year Els, a four-time major winner, finished one stroke out of a four-way playoff.

Norman, china team up: The China Golf Association appointed Greg Norman the advisory coach of its national team to get ready for the 2016 Olympics and improve China's global standing in golf. Norman will develop a comprehensive plan of instruction, nutrition, mental training and course management, and provide his tournament experience.