Tiger takes control in Tulsa
By Mark Kendall. Last Updated: 11/08/07 8:07am
Woods: 63 takes him two clear
Tiger Woods shot a magnificent seven-under-par 63 to take a stranglehold on the 89th USPGA Championship at Southern Hills, moving two clear of his closest challenger at the halfway stage.
The world number one was in simply majestic form with all aspects of his game firing as he equalled the lowest-ever round in a major championship and bettered his previous best of 64 at Troon back in 1997.
Woods produced eight birdies as he stormed through the field and ended the day on six-under, two strokes ahead of fellow American Scott Verplank who is all on his own in second at four-under.
Perhaps the only disappointment for Woods was that he could not create major history with a 62, especially given that he had very presentable birdie chances to do so at 16, 17 and above all 18 when his putt for a three chased around the cup and somehow stayed above ground.
However, that was the only slight blip on a day when the American stamped his authority on proceedings in trademark style, putting himself right on track for major number 13.
Indeed, the quality of his display was put into context by the fact that only eight men now stand under-par.
Verplank ensured he did so with a sparkling 66, a shot behind him on three-under are 2006 US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy and Canadian Stephen Ames who shot 68 and 69 respectively, while Woody Austin (-2), John Senden (-1), Niclas Fasth (-1) and Pat Perez (-1) complete the octet.
There were other outstanding rounds with Irishmen Paul McGinley and Darren Clarke also taking route 66 in Oklahoma to haul themselves to level-par and +3 respectively.
However, it was largely a disappointing day for the European challengers with Open Championship protagonists Padraig Harrington (+2) and Sergio Garcia (+5) falling off the pace after promising first rounds.
It was a similar story for first-round leader Graeme Storm who, after his blemish-free 18 holes on Thursday, contrived to make eight bogeys and a double-bogey as he slumped to a 76 that leaves him at +1.
Paul Casey shot a level-par 70 to leave himself at +2, while compatriots Luke Donald and Justin Rose are one shot worse off following rounds of 71 and 73.
But the day really belonged to just one man as Woods swept all before him with an wonderful display of ingenuity and distance control.
The world number one set the tone at the first with a delightful long iron that fed down to the hole to leave six feet for birdie that he polished off with the minimum of fuss.
Further birdies followed and four and then five despite finding a bunker off the tee, before his only bogey of the day at seven which was the result of another trip to the sand.
He recovered in perfect style by picking up further shots at nine and ten to move to three-under, while a fabulous up-and-down from the sand at 12 rescued par to maintain his momentum.
He followed it with another for birdie at the par-five 13th which took him into a share of the lead and then pulled clear with a birdie two at the short 14th and a nonchalant chip-in from just off the putting surface at 15.
At this stage Ogilvy was five-under and seemingly intent on matching Woods, but two closing bogeys hit the Australian's hopes and he will now start Saturday's round three-back.
Indeed, Woods' charge almost gave Friday's proceedings the feel of a Sunday as he moved into an ominously strong position at the top of the leaderboard and it will now take the bravest of punters to back against him finishing there in 36 holes' time.