The defending champions 67 has him at 6-under-par for the tournament, just two swings more than fellow former Bay Hill winner Paul Goydos, who shot his second-straight round of 68 earlier in the morning.
Five players share second place at 7-under, including Chris Perry (66), Sergio Garcia (66), Scott McCarron (70), Fulton Allem (67) and Grant Waite (71).
Waite was the only one of the five overnight leaders to break par in the second round. All five played in the afternoon on Friday. And all five struggled.
Phil Mickelson dropped from 6-under to 3-under, then made his way to 7-under, before dropping back down to 5-under, and finishing at 6-under.
Three-over on his round through 11 holes, the 1997 Bay Hill champion holed his approach shot for eagle at the par-5 12th. That led to back-to-back birdies at 13 and 14.
Just one off the lead at 7-under, Mickelson bogeyed Nos. 16 and 17, but ended his day with a birdie on the par-4 finishing hole for an even-par 72.
Mickelson is tied with Woods and four others at 6-under. Also in that group is Mark Calcavecchia, who, like Mickelson, followed an opening 66 with a Day-Two 72.
Fellow first-round co-leader Steve Pate is now in a tie for 13th place after a 1-over-par 73; while Dennis Paulson slipped from a first-place to into a tie for 19th following a 3-over-par 75.
Woods was in a much more gracious mood following Round Two than he was after opening in 1-under-par 71. Tigers first round ended on a sour note, with a triple-bogey 7 on the par-4 8th (his 17th hole of the day). It was his first triple since the third round of the 2000 U.S. Open, - a span of 1,201 holes.
After signing his scorecard, Tiger made a beeline for the exit, forgoing autographs and interviews.
If Thursdays round was emotionally painful, Fridays started with a bit of physical discomfort.
Well, when you almost hit your right foot coming down, its not going to feel good, said Woods, describing his opening tee shot. It was like a half shank/skank out to the right, like a dying quail.
I hit (my second shot) up there on the green from theretwo-putted and got my four.
The swing proved to be an anomaly, as Tiger made the turn in 3-under-par 33 and then added two more birdies on the back nine for a bogey-free round.
Obviously, Ive left a couple of shots out there, just because of the fact that I made triple, said Woods, who addressed the media after his round. But I feel like Im hitting the ball really crisp and I really feel, you know, pretty good over my putts.
Tiger didnt need any luck on Friday, but Goydos did. Appropriately enough, he was wearing a hat with Lucky stitched on the front.
Goydos tee shot to the par-5 16th hit a cart path and kicked into the fairway. He eventually birdied the hole and finished the day with the lead at 8-under-par.
For some reason, this is the luckiest place for me. The ball seems to bounce my way, said Goydos.
Sporting the cap given to him by his wife, Goydos followed up an opening-round 68 with yet another 4-under-par performance. In eight full seasons on the PGA Tour, Goydos has earned one career victory ' the 1996 Bay Hill Invitational. Last year, he collected his best finish of the season in this event, a tie for 10th.
I think its a function of Ive putted well here, said Goydos, whos averaging 24 putts through two rounds this year. The key to playing in the wind is putting.
For me, making putts is kind of like an antibiotic for the rest of my game. I start doing things better after it starts. And I dont worry if its not.
Goydos putting virus hasnt been apparent thus far in Orlando, Fla. After making the turn in 4-under-par 32, he added another birdie to his card at the par-4 13th. He then recorded back-to-back bogeys at the 14th and 15th holes, before redeeming himself with the fortunate birdie at the 16th.
Perry was wearing a sentimental hat of his own in Round Two. Perrys lid was a simple white cap with the Bay Hill insignia. Though is did have a couple of unique features ' Arnold Palmers autograph and a slew of umbrella pins (Palmers personal logo).
Perry bought the cap when he learned that he would be playing with the tournament host over the first two days.
I played with Mr. Palmer in my first U.S. Open in 1982 as an amateur at Pebble Beach in a practice round, but this is the first time Ive been paired with him in competition, said Perry. This is a thrill, to be paired with The King and to play quite well.
Perry rode his enthusiasm to a second-round 6-under-par 66, good enough to tie him for second place with, among others, Garcia, who also shot 66.
Garcia stumbled to a 1-under-par 71 on Thursday afternoon. His back nine (holes 1-9), included three consecutive missed birdie putts from inside six feet, a double bogey at the par-5 6th and a bogey at the par-4 8th.
Friday, the 21-year-old Spaniard steadied himself with a front-nine 2-under 34, and then birdied six of nine holes on the back. He also recorded a pair of bogeys on the inward half, with the last coming on the par-4 finishing hole.
After missing the green to the right with his approach shot, Garcia was forced to play a mini-bunker shot from the sand near the adjacent rocks. He played it too delicately, however, and failed to reach the green. He then two-putted from the fringe for a bogey 5.
Ive been playing these two days really well, said Garcia, who has been working on his backswing with his father and has been using a set Titleist irons, which hes owned for over two years but never used before.
The putter has let me down a little bit on the front nine. But other than that, Im really happy with the way Im hitting the ball.
Through two rounds, Garcia is 8-under on the back nine and 1-over on the front.
Like Goydos and Perry, Garcias hat serves more purpose than just to appease his sponsors. Garcia said he went back to Spain to get his hair trimmed and his regular barber was sick. Instead, another stylist took the shears to his head.
It didnt work so well, he said. So when I came back home, my dad said, I think youd better take it all off. So I just did.
News, Notes and Numbers
*Among those two shots off the 36-hole lead at 6-under-par is local favorite Robert Damron. Damron grew up in a house off the 10th fairway at Bay Hill, where his parents still live. Damron now owns a house of his own near the 12th hole. Friday, he tied the competitive course record by shooting 6-under-par 30 on the front nine en route to a 66.
*74 players made the cut, which fell at 1-over-par. Its the highest cut of the 2001 season.
*Thursday, the morning group was a cumulative 23-under-par, while the afternoon players were a combined 107-over. Friday, the morning group was 10-over, while the afternoon players were 51-over.
Click here for full-field scores from the Bay Hill Invitational