Simpson ties course record, takes 5-shot lead

Tiger Woods chips onto the eighteenth green in the second round of THE PLAYERS Championship on Friday

He dropped his only shot at the 14th before posting four closing pars to be tied for the clubhouse lead on seven-under with Spieth who also posted a 65.

As one of the first players to tee off at TPC Sawgrass, Woods reeled off six birdies over his first nine holes to climb into the top 20.

Despite the terrific round, Woods will have trouble putting any pressure on Simpson, who followed up a course-record-tying 63 on Friday with a 68 on Saturday.

"I had good touch with my speed", Woods said of his putting. Lee birdied the par-five 16th after leaving an eagle putt just short of the hole, then ran a birdie putt just past the hole on the par-three island hole 17th.

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson, whose 69 on Saturday moved him to 10 under par and into third place, could press the issue; or maybe it'll be Jordan Spieth, who matched Woods' 65 earlier in the day and was tied with the 14-time major champion at 8 under.

"I finally got off to a good start in birdieing the first couple of holes and I just kept it rolling", Woods said. "This golf course, as humid as it is right now, these greens are going to be holding all day and I knew that going in and I knew I had to be a little bit more aggressive in there and put the ball in these sections, and I was able to do that".

And Woods is not stopping there, as he hopes to continue to rebuilding his game: "Eventually, I want to put all of the pieces together. I hit a lot of good, quality shots".


"And the ball is flying forever in this humidity".

Woods had his best round on the Stadium Course with a 65 despite playing the final six holes in 1 over. "But I can assure you, for me it was goosebumps and shivers out there hearing all the noise and playing with him".

Round 3 begins on Saturday, May 12 at 8:10 a.m. Tiger Woods, who is paired with Mackenzie Hughes, tees off at 9 a.m. ET.

"Sixty five was probably as high as I could have shot today, which was nice", Woods said.

"When I missed a birdie chance I wasn't very disappointed", he said.

The sand wedge in the water on the 17 ruined his round, but not his day. I think I was ideal inside of 10 to 15 feet today and anywhere inside, which was probably the first time this year.

Hughes did more than "hang in there, " and that will do nothing but serve him well for Sunday's final round, whenever the next time he plays with Woods comes and the next time he's in contention to win a tournament. Woods should see his status rise once again as long as he can finish THE PLAYERS with a solid Sunday. "A few of the hardest pins they've used already and I saw the pins for tomorrow so I don't think it will be setup that much harder". "And I've got a chance to potentially make more noise than that". His 6-under 30 front nine was his best 9-hole score at the Championship and raised visions of a 59, just like it did when Simpson was on a roll on Friday. "But I'm trying not to dwell there".

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