Woods Shoots 61 Gets Within One of Singh

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2005 Buick OpenGRAND BLANC, Mich. -- Tiger Woods had plenty of reasons to pump his right fist and flash an ear-to-ear grin.
 
Woods shot an 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.
 
Vijay Singh
Tiger Woods had the round of the day, but Vijay Singh has the 36-hole lead.
``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 two players in the world rankings will be paired in the final group Saturday.
 
``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 in a group of 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 a 59, tying the PGA Tour record shared by three players. 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 a 71, needing a 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.
 
The Buick Open cut was 4 under.
 
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.
 
When Woods was on the first tee, he was 12 shots behind Singh and it didn't look like he was going to make up much ground early in his round.
 
His first drive sailed to the right and nearly landed on an adjacent fairway, and he pulled his second behind a scoreboard. He saved par on both holes, then started his surge with a 23-foot putt for birdie at No. 3.
 
Woods closed the front nine with four birdies in five holes, making the turn at 31.
 
``It wasn't like I was pressing to shoot 5 under,'' he said.
 
He made a good round spectacular by going 6 under between from 13 to 16.
 
After missing a makable putt for birdie at No. 12, Woods blasted his next drive 356 yards then hit his approach to 4 feet on the 544-yard hole. He drove the green at the 322-yard, par-4 14th, needing to make an 11-foot putt for his second eagle.
 
``We were watching the best golf anyone is going to play -- 13 and 14 were as good as golf gets,'' Funk said.
 
Woods said he got nothing out of his first round, but fell short of saying he got everything out of Friday.
 
``If you want to nitpick, I left two putts short and missed a 4-footer,'' he said.
 
First-round leader Nick Watney (71) fell apart after a strong start.
 
The PGA Tour rookie started 8 under and after five holes, he was tied with Singh for the lead at 13 under. Watney collapsed by going 5 over in a six-hole stretch, but still snapped a seven-tournament streak of missing the cut.
 
Another feel-good story took a turn for the worse in the second round. Billy McKay, a 17-year-old amateur playing in his hometown, tied Woods with a 71 on Thursday only to miss the cut after a second-round 84.
 
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