Date: September 15, 2007

Tiger in overdrive

Tiger Woods produced a stunning front nine to build a three-shot lead after the second round at the Tour Championship in Atlanta, while Australian defending champion Adam Scott remains in contention, tied at equal third and just four strokes off the lead. Woods, though, picked up seven shots in a six-hole purple patch on the outward half at East Lake, making the turn in just 28 in perfect scoring conditions. He needed to come home in only 31 to shoot the magical 59 and, the way he was playing, seemed likely at the very least to challenge his career best score of 61. However, he was not the same after the turn, and a bogey at the par-four 12th, where he plugged his approach shot in a greenside bunker, put paid to any thoughts of a 59. Woods subsequently birdied the par-five 15th, bogeyed the 16th and birdied the last for what surely must rank as the most disappointing 63 of his life. “I didn&apost know I shot 28 on the front nine until we got in the scoring tent,” Woods said. He posted a 13-under 127 halfway total, with Woody Austin (65) alone on 10-under, and defending champion Scott (66), first round leader Tim Clark (69) and veteran Mark Calcavecchia (66) another shot back. With the greens abnormally soft after yesterday&aposs heavy rain, the course was there for the taking, and nobody took advantage of conditions better than Woods. The superstar finished off his first round, which had been interrupted due to poor light , with a 64 before starting slowly on round two. However, despite only parring the first three holes, Woods produced the goods from then on as he made five successive birdies, followed by an the eagle at the ninth. He holed a 10-footer at the par-four fourth, before holing a 60-foot bunker shot at the fifth. His next three birdies came from 13 feet, 11 feet and seven feet respectively, before he got home in two from the fairway of the par-five ninth and drained a monster 70-foot putt. “Pure luck,” he said of his unlikely eagle. “If you could have been right behind the ball and seen how that thing was bouncing all over the place, it was actually quite funny.” “It was left of the hole, right of the hole, left of the hole, right of the hole, and then it went in.” Apart from taking command of the tournament, Woods also moved closer to the $10 million US dollars bonus for winning the new FedEx Cup play-off series. Woods, though, is only guaranteed of that if he manages to win The Open as a second or worse leaves him vulnerable to both Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker, while Australian Scott does not appear to be letting his title go without a fight. Like Woods, Scott&aposs first round was interrupted due to the rain and light, but after posting four birdies on Thursday, Scott picked up where he left off by adding another birdie in a five-under-par 65 score. In his second round, Scott was again impressive; carding another five birdies, but a bogey on 14 prevented him from moving into second on the leadrboard. Scott is seven strokes clear of his nearest compatriot in Geoff Ogilvy, who, after posting a respectable 68 in round one, had a horror start to his second. Indeed, Ogilvy looked in all sorts of trouble as he bogeyed the second hole before triple bogeying the third, but the Australian showed his mental toughness by rallying effectively to record a birdie at four, before another three birdies saw him finish his round on 70 to be two-under overall. Ogilvy is also one stroke ahead of Robert Allenby (68 and 71) and Aaron Baddeley (70 and 69) who both appear out of contention. Prior to the tournament, Baddeley was the only Australian in a position to claim the FedEx Cup, but he needed to win this tournament and see Tiger fail badly to have a chance. Second Round of The Tour Championship (par 70) -13 Tiger Woods 64 63 -10 Woody Austin 65 65 -9 Tim Clark 62 69, Mark Calcavecchia 65 66, Adam Scott (Australia) 65 66 -8 Sergio Garcia 68 64, K.J. Choi 67 65 -7 Padraig Harrington 63 70, John Rollins 64 69, Stewart Cink 67 66, Hunter Mahan 65 68 -6 Scott Verplank 66 68, Phil Mickelson 68 66 also: -2 Geoff Ogilvy (Australia) 68 70 -1 Robert Allenby (Australia) 68 71, Aaron Baddeley (Australia) 69 70