Ryan Palmer fired an outstanding round on Friday -- a 7-under-par 65. He is tied for second place with Australia's John Senden, who shot a second-round, 2-under 70. The pair is knotted at 8-under-par 136.
Watney, playing in one of the earlier groups on Friday, flew out of the gate with a birdie at the first. He knocked a sand-wedge inside 5 feet on the par-4 opening hole, then converted the birdie try.
He made it two in a row at the par-5 second as the hole played downwind. That left Watney with a 6-iron for his second shot and he reached the green, where he two-putted for a birdie.
At the par-4 sixth, Watney drove into the left rough and was forced to chip back into the fairway. Watney got up and down for par from 80 yards to stay at 10 under par for the championship.
With the difficult conditions, par became a great score and that was what Watney posted around the turn on Friday. Things got rocky for the 25-year-old at the par-5 13th when his drive missed the fairway and once again, he was forced to lay up short of the green. Watney could not get up and down from the fairway as his ball got caught up in a swale on the green.
After the bogey, Watney could not recover the lost stroke, but saved a pair of tricky pars. At the par-4 14th, Watney drove into a fairway bunker, then missed the green with his second. He was able to chip close and convert his par putt.
At the par-3 17th, Watney hit a terrible tee ball that came up short and right of the green. He chipped to 6 feet and again holed a clutch par save to stay atop the leaderboard.
'Started off, I was swinging well and had a few more opportunities early, but then didn't hit it as well as I did yesterday so I made a lot of good par saves,' said Watney, who shared the first round lead on Thursday. 'It's tough to get the ball close because the wind was kind of gusting and pretty tricky.'
Palmer had an erratic front nine Friday with a birdie at the second. He holed out a wedge from the fifth fairway for an eagle, but mis-hit a 4-iron at the par-3 eighth, and missed a 10-foot par putt.
Last year's winner in Disney caught fire on the back side. He drained a 50-footer for birdie at the 11th, birdied 12 from 5 feet and polished off three birdies in a row at the par-5 13th.
He closed with a 4-foot birdie putt at the 15th and 25-foot birdie putt at 17 to get within one of the lead.
'It was one of those days where the hole was big and the ball was going in the right spot so I definitely drove the ball great and hit my irons really solid,' said Palmer.
Senden started on the back nine Friday and ran home a pair of short birdie putts at the 13th and 14th holes. He parred his remaining holes on his first nine to make the turn at minus-8 for the tournament.
Senden, who earned his first PGA TOUR victory this year at the John Deere Classic, two-putted for a birdie from just off the green at the par-5 second.
He was tied for first after the birdie, but bogeyed six when he came up short of the green. Senden fell one off the lead, but the Australian knows he can win again, and after a re-shuffling of goals, has one tournament in mind.
'I'm resetting my goals for the TOUR Championship,' said Senden, who needs to be in the top 30 on the money list for the season-ender in four weeks. 'I'm running 40th at the moment and I need some really high results to make it. The goals are right there, and they're realistic.'
Tim Petrovic (69), Texas Open champion Eric Axley (69), Chris Couch (68), Charley Hoffman (71), Greg Owen (69) and Ryan Moore (70) are tied for fourth place at minus-7.
John Rollins and Brent Geiberger shared the first-round lead with Watney, but struggled on Friday. Rollins shot a 2-over 74 and is tied for 10th at minus-6, while Geiberger was a shot worse in round two and is part of a group at 5-under-par 139.
The 36-hole cut fell at 2-under-par 142 and among the notable players to miss the weekend were: Mike Weir (143), John Daly (143), Kenny Perry (144) and Corey Pavin (152).