September 14, 2007 / 5:36 PM / 12 years ago

Sizzling Woods surges three ahead at East Lake

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Tiger Woods, who has made a habit of producing the remarkable, rolled in a 70-foot eagle putt to complete a blistering outward nine of eight-under-par 28 in the Tour Championship second round on Friday.

Tiger Woods smiles after a birdie from the sand trap on the fifth green during the second round of the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia, September 14, 2007. REUTERS/John Amis

That left the world number one at 13 under overall, four strokes clear of the field in the fourth and final event of the inaugural FedExCup playoff series.

South African Tim Clark, first-round leader after a course record-equalling 62 in damp, receptive conditions at East Lake Golf Club, was at nine-under 131 after a 69.

Also at nine under were American Woody Austin, after 14 holes, and holder Adam Scott of Australia, after 12.

American Mark Calcavecchia, was at eight under after 14 holes, one ahead of British Open champion Padraig Harrington of Ireland (70).

Woods, two strokes off the pace after the weather-hit first round was completed earlier in the day, lit up the tournament with a sizzling run of five birdies and an eagle in six holes.

Having returned a first-round 64 under cloudy skies in the morning, he launched his red-hot streak by holing a nine-footer to birdie the par-four fourth.

BASHFUL SMILE

He then holed out from a greenside bunker at the fifth, prompting a bashful smile, rolled in a 13-footer at the sixth, and an 11-footer at the seventh to take the outright lead for the first time.

Woods calmly rolled in a seven-footer at the par-four eighth before stunning the huge galleries packed around the green at the par-five ninth with his long-range putt for eagle.

His nine-hole effort was two strokes short of the PGA Tour record, an eight-under 26 set by fellow American Corey Pavin in the first round of last year’s Milwaukee Championship.

Overwhelming favourite to win his seventh title of the year and inaugural FedExCup honours, Woods has the $7 million (3.5 million pounds) tournament firmly within his grasp.

He was ahead well ahead of his two main FedExCup rivals, Phil Mickelson, five under after 11 holes, and Steve Stricker, three under after 10.

Either Woods or Stricker would claim the $10 million bonus as the inaugural FedExCup champion with victory this week, regardless of where the other players finish.

Mickelson, who skipped last week’s BMW Championship won by Woods, would earn the bonus with victory at East Lake, as long as Woods finishes worse than second.

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