For the second time this season, Tiger Woods has a share of the lead at the midway point in a major championship.
The 14-time major champion battled winds twice as fierce as his major count to shoot 1-under 71 and share the 36-hole lead at the PGA Championship with Vijay Singh and Carl Pettersson.
"I thought going out today, anything even par or better was going to be a good score," Woods said. "That was my goal. So I went out today and I accomplished that."
Mission: accomplished. Woods made three birdies and two bogeys to be one of four players to break par on Friday at the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island. A bogey at the last hole, however, could prove critical. The three-putt green dropped Woods into a tie for first, losing a psychological advantage in being alone atop the leaderboard.
Nevertheless, the putter has carried Woods to the final group. He has needed just 48 putts to get around Kiawah Island for two rounds, including an astounding 23 one-putt greens. In missing the cut in this championship a year ago in Atlanta, Woods found himself in 22 bunkers over two days. What a difference a year makes.
Having putting horridly for the first two rounds at Firestone a week ago may have been a blessing in disguise.
"I did a lot of good, solid work on Thursday and Friday after I putted so poorly, and I felt great on the weekend," he said. "I was rolling the ball the way that I know I can role the golf ball. And I just basically carried it over to here this week."
Asked to recall a putting performance somewhat similar to this one, Woods had a couple of examples.
"I didn't miss a putt inside ten feet at Augusta in'97, as well as the 2000 Open," he said. "Those are two pretty good majors."
Victories of a dozen and 15 shots each? Yeah, not bad.
This is different, however. Woods hasn't won a major in four years - seemingly a much more daunting reality than never having won one before ('97 Masters) or playing for history at Pebble Beach.
Woods has failed to convert the last two times he has had a piece of the lead going into the weekend at a major. He failed to win the U.S. Open in June after playing a nearly flawless 36 holes. Three years ago, Y.E. Yang ended Woods' reign as the game's invincible closer at Hazeltine.
Woods plays in the final group on Saturday with Vijay Singh, an old foe who posted the low score of Day 2 with a 69. The world No. 2 has gotten the best of the Fijian over the years, going 21-8-3 against Singh in the 32 rounds they've been paired together.
Singh, however, is not Woods' real opponent. It's Mother Nature.
"So we have got a long way to go and I don't know what the forecast is for tomorrow, if it's going to blow like this or not blow like this," he said, "but if it's anything like this over the weekend, with no rain, it's going to be tough."