Woods in hunt after record day

Associated Press
Published July 30, 2005

GRAND BLANC, Mich. - Tiger Woods had plenty of reasons to pump his right fist and flash an ear-to-ear grin.

Woods shot 11-under 61 Friday in the second round of the Buick Open, matching the best score of his career and the tournament record. He had consecutive eagles for the first time in a PGA Tour event in an eagle-eagle-birdie-birdie stretch.

"That's the best golfer in the world playing at his best," said Fred Funk, who was in Woods' group.

Woods went into the weekend at 12-under 132, one shot behind defending champion Vijay Singh (66). The top players in the world rankings will be paired in the final group today.

"It's going to be fun, but there are two rounds to go," Woods said. "We can't just sit still with a bunch of pars. We have to keep making birdies."

Last year, Singh needed to reach 23 under to beat John Daly by a stroke and Woods by two.

Craig Barlow (67) was alone in third, two shots behind Singh. Funk (66) was among six at 134.

Woods' previous 61s came at the 2000 NEC Invitational and the 1999 Byron Nelson Classic, both par-70 courses. While shooting 11 under for the first time, he tied the Buick Open record Billy Mayfair set in 2001.

If Woods had birdied his final two holes, he would have finished with 59, tying the PGA Tour record shared by three. David Duval was the last to reach golf's magic number, in the final round of the 1999 Bob Hope Classic.

"Yeah, it crosses your mind," Woods said.

He became the third PGA Tour player to make consecutive eagles this year. Lee Janzen and Tag Ridings did it at the Bob Hope Classic. He is the fourth to do it at the Buick Open, a tournament that started in 1958.

Woods opened at Warwick Hills with 71, needing 68 to avoid missing the cut. He missed the cut in May at the Byron Nelson Championship, the first time in more than seven years he left a tournament before it ended.

Woods is playing in his first tournament in two weeks, since his five-shot victory at the British Open, and two weeks before the PGA Championship, where he'll shoot for his 11th major title.

"Hopefully I can win this tournament so that I can go home and have a nice practice session," he said.