Woods Makes 120th Straight Cut

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Whether he's in first place or last, Tiger Woods prides himself on giving his best effort. That effort was good enough to keep him around for the weekend once again. On a day when Kevin Sutherland and Jerry Kelly took the lead at The Players Championship, Woods made almost as big a splash by picking up his game to simply make the cut, extending his record streak to 120 straight events.
 
'I play the same way whether I'm shooting 82 or 62,' Woods said Friday after shooting 3-under-par 69 to finish at even par. 'There might be others who don't play that way. I play that way all the time.'
 
Woods goes into the weekend nine strokes behind the leaders, a seemingly insurmountable margin to most, but not to him.
 
'I was trying to shoot 66 and get to 3 under,' he said. 'That's where I thought I needed to be to win the tournament. Now, I've just got to go out, shoot a good, solid number and get myself where I need to be.'
 
Sutherland holed an 80-foot bunker shot on his way to a 69 for his first 36-hole lead in eight years. Kelly worked his way through a mixed bag of an afternoon that included rain, wind and also some pretty calm weather on the Stadium Course, to shoot 66.

Ernie Els shot 69 in the morning to finish two shots back at 7 under, and first-day leader Adam Scott finished in even par to leave him at 7 under, too. Another stroke back are Vijay Singh (68) and Padraig Harrington (70), part of a leaderboard dotted both with stars and lesser-knowns.
 
'Just being in contention is nice,' said Phil Mickelson, who is four shots back at 139.
 
Mickelson saved his day on No. 18, when he drove into the water, but hit his drop to 10 feet and made the putt to save par.
 
Meanwhile, the highlight of Kelly's round came on No. 6, where he punched a chip out of deep grass to five feet to save par.
 
'The round-saver,' he called it.
 
It helped him to the second-round lead here for the second time in four years. In 2001, he led after both the second and third rounds, but finished fourth. He claims he's a different player now, having refined a swing that used to give him trouble.
 
'The difference between then and now is I was relying on timing, and I had no clue whether a good shot or a bad shot was going to come out,' Kelly said. 'Now, if I do what I know I have to do, a good shot is going to come out.'
 
Sutherland made four birdies, although it was his ability to avoid disaster after a bad drive on No. 14 that might have saved his day.
 
He drove into rough so deep that he had a hard time even identifying his ball. He wasn't sure he could advance it 15 yards, but it came out hot, through the fairway, into a bunker and behind a tree.
 
He wound up holing a 12-foot putt for bogey.
 
'That was huge,' he said. 'Making that putt was like making a birdie putt as far as momentum goes.'
 
Despite the successes of Sutherland and Kelly, much of this day was about Woods and whether he could keep his streak going. The world's top player muted much of the suspense right away, hitting a 5-iron to 10 feet for eagle on his second hole, the par-5 11th, then making birdie on 12 to move to even par.
 
He insisted the issue of missing the cut wasn't foremost on his mind.
 
'I'm always doing the same thing,' he said. 'I go out and give it everything I've got. Some days, it's pretty good. Others, it's not so good.'
 
Woods wasn't the only one who needed a good round to stick around. Defending champion Davis Love, ailing with back problems during the first round, felt better Friday and shot 68 to make the cut with a stroke to spare.
 
'I wouldn't say I kicked it into another gear,' he said. 'I just went back to playing the way I'd been playing.'
 
Another drama being played out is that of John Daly. He needs to finish 19th or better to qualify for the Masters. After extending his bogey-free streak to 27 holes, he struggled on his last nine, making four bogeys en route to a 73. He goes into the weekend tied for 21st at 2 under.
 
'It's a matter of just trying to concentrate on each hole here,' Daly said. 'The outside goal is to get in the Masters, but I can't think about it when I'm playing here.'
 
Related links:
  • Leaderboard - The Players Championship

  • Full Coverage - The Players Championship

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