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Tiger on the Prowl in Thailand

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Playing what he called a near flawless round, Tiger Woods fired a 7-under-par 65 to take the outright lead at 11-under-par entering the weekend of the Johnnie Walker Classic in Bangkok, Thailand.
 
Woods, who won this event when it was last held in Thailand in 1998, is being chased by a pack of Australians.
 
Rodney Pampling, best known for missing the cut at the 1999 British Open despite leading after the first round, is one shot back of Woods at 10-under-par. Fellow Aussies Geoff Ogilvy and Wayne Smith are tied for third at 9-under. Smith opened in 65 to take the day-one lead, but dropped into a tie for third following his second-round 70. Paul Gow, yet another Australian, is tied for fifth place at 8-under-par with Paul Lawrie, who won the '99 British Open at Carnoustie.
 
Woods, seeking his 10th worldwide title of the year, took advantage of the cool conditions and soft greens. The world's No. 1 player carded eight birdies to just one bogey. Were it not for that bogey at the 6th, Tiger said: 'I would call today's performance perfect.'
 
Though he's won nine times this season, Tiger is trying to record his first victory since the Bell Canadian Open two months ago. He's been in contention each of the last three weeks, but he's failed to finish better than second.
 
Once again, however, Tiger's back in the hunt, and he can find little wrong with his play to this point.
 
'I drove the ball good again and hit some good iron shots which left me with some makeable putts and I made almost everyone,' Woods said.
 
'The greens Friday morning were a lot more receptive than on the first day of play. When you hit a ball in there, the ball won't skip on to the back like yesterday. There was no wind either and it always does make a lot of difference.'
 
Woods wasn't the only player to take advantage of the docile conditions. The Aussie contingency performed quite well on Friday. Pampling and Ogilvy carded rounds of 66 and 67, respectively. In fact, Pampling birdied his final three holes in the second round to earn a berth into Saturday's final pairing.
 
'I finished off pretty well and came good on the back nine,' Pampling said. 'I'm definitely looking forward to playing with Tiger, and it'll be great to be in the same flight. I played practice rounds with Tiger at last year's British Open and also at Valderrama for the American Express Championship, so it'll be fun to be playing with him again.'
 
Ogilvy finished runner-up at this event a year ago in Taiwan; and after an unspectacular 2000 campaign, the 23-year-old is glad to be back in Asia.
 
'I don't know why I have played bad all year,' said Ogilvy. 'Maybe it's just a coincidence that I'm in Asia and playing well again. Asian courses suit the long hitter, definitely.
 
'This will help get my confidence back. A couple of weeks ago in the Volvo Masters I was 8-over after seven holes, but I was really playing good. Hopefully, I'll play well at the weekend, but Tiger's on cruise control.'
 
Woods' stiffest competition over the weekend could come from those a little further down the leaderboard. Jesper Parnevik is four shots back of Tiger following a 65 in the second round, while defending champion Michael Campbell and Sergio Garcia are five off the pace at 6-under-par.
 
Garcia carded the low round of the day at the Alpine Golf and Sports Club. The Spaniard went around the track in just 64 strokes. His round included six birdies and an eagle.
 
'You always try to shoot a low number,' said Garcia, who also fired a 64 in the final round of last week's American Express Championship. 'Tomorrow is an important day, as it's moving day. So, hopefully, I can shoot another good score to be at the top on Sunday.'