This is not the PGA Championship we were expectinG. But its what we have, and you wont find David Toms complaining.
Toms, in dire need of a great finish this week to earn a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team, fired a 5-under-par 65 to tie Shingo Katayama, who shot a morning 64, for the lead entering weekend play in Duluth, Ga.
Click here to see how potential Ryder Cuppers fared in rd. 2
Toms and Katayama stand at 9-under-par 131. The 9-under total ties a 36-hole tournament scoring record, last set by Ernie Els in 1995.
Phil Mickelson (66) and Bob Estes (65) are tied for third place at 9-under.
Six players are tied for fifth place at 6-under; including Steve Lowery (67), K.J. Choi (68), Jim Furyk (64), Dudley Hart (68), Els (67) and David Duval (68).
Meanwhile, the two-time defending champion is nine shots off the pace.
Then again, Woods is happy to still be in the metro Atlanta area, as it took a pair of lengthy birdie putts over his final four holes just to keep him in the tournament.
Woods started the round at 3-over-par and needed to make a series of par saves to keep alive his chances coming down the stretch.
Tiger picked up a couple of shots at the 5th and 9th holes, but bogeyed the 13th.
He entered the par-3 15th at 2-over for the tournament, with the projected cutline looming at even par.
After coming up short of the green with his tee shot, Woods raced his birdie effort from 40 feet and off the green into the back of the cup. Had he missed, the ball might have traveled through the green. But as it was, Tiger moved to 1-over, which eventually became cutline.
At the par-4 16th, Tiger safely found the green, but some 30 feet from the flag. However, Tiger once again thrilled the gallery by draining the birdie effort to reach even par.
I knew I had to make something happen coming in, said Woods. I made two bombs.
Woods then proceeded to par his final two holes to shoot 67 and make the cut by one shot. Its officially the 74th consecutive cut made by Woods. He hasnt missed a cut in a major tournament since doing so in the 1996 Masters as an amateur.
'It seemed tougher trying to make the cut than winning the tournament,' Woods said.
Ive always believed youve got to give everything you have. Thats what I did today. I didnt hit it that great, but I hung in there, hung in there and did the best I could.
While Tigers performance, or lack thereof, is surprising, so too is that of both Katayama and Toms.
Katayama, known for the cowboy hat he wears during competition, capped a brilliant round by sinking a 20-foot birdie putt at the last. He raised his arms in celebration before the ball fell into the cup.
I started wearing the hat last year, Katayama said through an interpreter. Since I started wearing the hat, Ive had good results. I love my hat.
Toms sports the more traditional baseball cap, but was equally impressive on Friday.
This years Compaq Classic winner recorded six birdies and one bogey at the Highlands Course. He currently resides in 14th place on the U.S. Ryder Cup standings. And with this weeks event being the last before the American team in finalized, Toms needs no less than a tie for sixth to have a chance for automatically qualifying for the team.
Thats in the back of my mind, Toms said. But Im playing well enough to win this tournament. Thats first and foremost.
Lurking behind the two surprise leaders are a host of worthy contenders, but no bigger names than that of Mickelson and Duval.
Mickelson continued to avoid his penchant for disaster. For the second day in a row, the left-hander made five birdies to just one bogey.
Ive played two solid rounds and put myself score-wise about where I was expecting, said Mickelson. Heading into the weekend, Id like to try and separate myself a little bit.
Mickelson would like to do what Duval did at this years British Open ' shed the label of best player never to win a major.
Friday, Duval displayed stellar iron play, but was unable to go substantially low due to a poor putter. He left a number of birdie putts short.
News, Notes and Numbers
*The cutline fell at 1-over-par 141. Sergio Garcia (68-75), John Daly (72-77) and Tom Lehman (72-72) missed the cut. Lehman is currently 10th in Ryder Cup points.
*Mark OMeara set a new course record and tied a major championship record by shooting 63 in the second round. The 1998 Masters and British Open champion is four off the lead at 5-under.
*Overnight leader Grant Waite went from two ahead to seven down. The New Zealander followed an opening 64 with a second-round 74.
*1995 PGA champion Steve Elkington withdrew prior to his second round due to an illness.
*Rick Schuller was the only club professional of the 25 in the tournament to make the cut. Schuller, an assistant pro at River Creek Club in Leesburg, Va., shot rounds of 68-70 to qualify for weekend play.
Full-field scores from the 83rd PGA Championship