Tiger Closes on Lead in Round Two

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SAN DIEGO -- Brad Faxon shot a 64 Friday and is tied with Marco Dawson atop the leaderboard at 10-under-par 134 at the Buick Invitational. Arron Oberholser, Dennis Paulson, Fred Funk, Jonathan Kaye and Briny Baird are one stroke back at 9-under.
 
Tiger Woods, who is tied for eighth, is lurking two shots behind the leaders at 8-under 136. Woods played 27 holes on Friday and showed no signs of problems with his surgically repaired left knee.
 
'You know what -- it really is a good test for the knee,' said Woods. 'And I actually feel better now than I did this morning. It's liable to feel a little tight later when it cools down, but it's warm right now and I feel fine.'
 
Fog and rain forced the suspension of the first round on Thursday causing the field to return to the course early Friday morning to complete the first round prior to the second starting. Due to the wet conditions, players were able to lift-clean-and-place their golf balls.
 
Woods finished his first round on the North Course by posting just one birdie in his final nine holes, to complete his first round at 2-under par. The top player in the world started his second round on the back nine of the South Course. He carded birdies at Nos. 11, 14 and 16 to climb to 5-under.
 
As Woods began his second round, he posted his first bogey in 27 holes at the par-4 fourth. The 1999 Buick Invitational winner responded with a birdie at the next two holes, to climb to minus-6 for the tournament. After a pair of pars, Woods chipped in for eagle at the last to climb into contention.
 
'I finally hit a good tee shot there (on 18),' said Woods. 'A nice little draw, then I ripped a 3-wood. The pitch shot is something I've been working on, because it's all I could do for a while. I had a pretty good feel for it and I had to get up there and trust it. It came off great.'
 
Faxon finished his first round with three consecutive birdies from the sixth on the South Course to end round one at minus-2. He remained hot from the outset of his second round.
 
'It was perfect today' said Faxon. 'I really wasn't doing anything extraordinary. All of a sudden I made birdie on 6, 7, 8 on the South, and got to 2-under-par. Then I eagled the first hole. I was hitting some good iron shots.'
 
Faxon, a seven-time winner on the PGA Tour, eagled the first hole at the North Course to quickly move to 4-under for the tournament. He followed that up with a birdie at the fifth, before making the turn at 5-under.
 
The Furman University graduate caught fire on the back nine. He posted consecutive birdies beginning at the 11th to get to minus-7. He would alternate pars and birdies over his final six holes, with his final birdie on No. 18 lifting him into a share of first place.
 
'Yeah, I would have expected some low scores,' said Faxon. 'I'd say this is a typical day we play Torrey Pines. Obviously, the North course is going to yield lower scores.'
 
Dawson completed his first round at minus-4 on the South Course. He began round two at the North Course with a birdie at the first. Dawson, who was struggling with back pain most of the day, also birdied the fifth and eighth to climb to 7-under.
 
Dawson made another birdie around turn at the 10th. He later birdied the final two holes to claim a share of first place.
 
Dawson is the only player without a bogey so far in the tournament and he credits the turn-around in his putting for that.
 
'I hit the ball well at the Bob Hope, but putted terrible,' said Dawson. 'Last week I started making a few more putts. I can see some light at the end of the tunnel as far as my putting. This week I started to make some putts and I felt real comfortable on my long putts. I didn't have any three-putts and I don't have any bogeys.'
 
Woods is tied with Bob Tway, Neal Lancaster and Steven Alker at 8-under par. Phil Mickelson, Carl Pettersson, Dean Wilson, Darren Clarke and Fred Couples are one stroke further back at minus-7.
 
Defending champion Jose Maria Olazabal finished his first round at 3-under-par 69, but followed that with a 3-over 75 and missed the cut by one stroke at even-par 144.
 
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