Woods Pulls Within 2 Shots of HSBC Lead

Friday, November 10th 2006, 6:26 am
By: News On 6

SHANGHAI, China (AP) _ Tiger Woods had an eagle and seven birdies in a course record-tying 8-under 64 Friday to move within two shots of the lead at the HSBC Champions tournament.

A day after ending a five-week sabbatical with an even-par 72, Woods closed within two shots of India's Jyoti Randhawa and one of Retief Goosen after starting the second round seven shots back.

Randhawa, the overnight leader, mixed six birdies with three bogeys for 69 and a two-round total of 10-under 134.

Goosen birdied three of his first four holes and finished with three straight for a 67.

Woods was tied with 2005 U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell, who had a 70, and one ahead of Scotland's Marc Warren, Chawalit Plaphol of Thailand and European No. 1 Padraig Harrington.

Sweden's Henrik Stenson had eight birdies in a bogey-free round to set the record for the Sheshan International Golf Club at 64 earlier Friday. He was tied for 17th at 4-under.

Woods shook off the rust of his first round and said his form was approaching what it had been at the WGC-American Express Championship, where he won by eight strokes on Oct. 1 for his sixth straight PGA Tour victory

``It's close to what I was at Amex (where) I had it dialed in pretty good,'' Woods said. ``That was probably my best ball-striking week all year.''

Woods said he was too ``one-dimensional'' Thursday _ his first competitive round since Oct. 1 _ but ``felt like I was in control of the ball all day'' Friday.

``Hopefully I can do it again on the weekend and hopefully make some birdies, because that's what you're going to have to do to win this tournament.''

Woods had Roger Federer following him in the gallery on Thursday and shared a meal with the tennis No. 1 later in the evening.

On Friday, he had Argentine tennis star David Nalbandian following inside the ropes from the 10th to the 13th holes. Nalbandian, who plays Federer on Sunday in a rematch of last year's Tennis Masters Cup final, left after Woods three-putted the 13th.

His eagle at the 14th followed his only bogey of the round, when he three-putted from 15 feet on the par-four 13th. He hit his drive down the right adjacent to water and had 224 yards to the pin and the water hazard in front of the green.

``I hit a 4-iron as hard as I could and it came off perfect,'' he said. ``I had a 10-footer for eagle, left-to-right, and made it.''

Woods had another eagle chance at the par-five 18th, again hitting the green in two over the water but rolling his 15-foot putt inches to the right of the hole. He missed a few putts by inches and said he could have shot as low as 61 if he'd made all his chances.

``I did miss a couple. When you three-putt from 15 feet, it's a missed opportunity. A couple of others lipped out,'' he said. But, ``it was nice to be hitting some balls again.''

No. 2-ranked Jim Furyk had a 66 on Friday to move into a share of 10th at 5-under, tied with Colin Montgomerie.

Randhawa will be in a group with Woods and Goosen on the weekend.

``It would be an honor for me just to have a round with him and just try to play my own game,'' Randhawa said. ``If I can keep my mind on what I have done the first two days, I think I've pretty much done my job. And from there, I'll take it as it comes.''

Chris DiMarco was penalized one shot after a review, altering his first-round from 69 to 70.

The tournament released a statement Friday saying the referee had incorrectly adjudicated that DiMarco had not caused the ball to move on the eighth green, when he grounded his putter near the ball.

Because it was a referee's error, DiMarco was not penalized for signing an incorrect card. He had a 74 on Friday and was even-par 144 after two rounds.

The $5 million tournament is the first event on the PGA European Tour's 2007 schedule. The event also is sanctioned by the China Golf Association and the Asian, Australasian and Sunshine tours.