On a course that is difficult under pristine conditions, Tiger Woods played beautifully in the second round at the PGA Championship in Kiawah Island, S.C., despite a consistent, harsh wind that effected almost every shot.
The results placed Woods atop the leaderboard in the last major of the year, which equates to his last chance of 2012 to end his four-year drought without a major.
Like the days he dominated, Woods performed at a high level with his putter. Hole after hole he sank putts that either saved par and gave him birdie. He shot a 1-under 71 for an aggregated minus-4 to share the lead with Vijay Singh, who shot 69, Carl Peterson. Ian Poulter is at 3-under.
Woods’ first hole served as a prelude to one his best putting days in recent memory. He left himself about 15 feet to prevent a bogey on No. 1, and he drained it.
On No. 2, a par 5, he reached the green in two, but pitched his eagle attempt about 12 feet pass the hole. However, he made the come-backer for birdied. Then, on the next hole, left with a twisting eight-footer for par, he buried it.
Not yet done, he made a bomb from about 35 feet for birdie to go from 2-under. It was clear Woods was on his game, despite being unable to hit many of the greens.
No, it was his short game that showed up for him Friday. He bogeyed No. 8 and made the turn at 35. By then, he had gone from the lead to tied for the lead to trailing Peterson by up to two shots.
But Woods kept grinding in the conditions that had pro players posting amateur-like scores in the 90s.
It was like old times, Woods’ presence shrinking his playing partners. Martin Kaymer, once No. 1 in the world, was 10 over for the day – 10 – and missed the cut. Defending PGA champion Keegan Bradley was 5-over, 1 over for the tournament.
On the back 9, Woods was magnificent – until the last hole. He birdied the par 4 No. 12 and made par the rest of the side, until he reached No. 18. There, he pulled his tee shot so far left that it hit a hospitality tent. He received a break when the ball caromed into a good lie. Hit approach shot from far left was a beauty that landed about 25 feet left of the hole, giving him a legitimate birdie try.
But he blasted his putt about nine feet beyond the cup, and his par attempt was meek and turned left, leaving him with a disappointing three-putt bogey.
But all things considered, though, Woods was right there when he could have easily given in to the conditions.
How bad were the conditions? Bubba Watson shot a 3-over 75 and advanced 17 spots up the leaderboard.