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Woods ups lead to 5 at The Grove
2006-09-29 20:10:48 Xinhua English

BEIJING, Sept. 30 (Xinhaunet) -- After Thursday's first round of the American Express Championship at Chandler's Cross, England, American Stewart Cink said The Grove course suited Tiger Woods so well the course should be renamed "Tiger Woods."

Woods certainly did nothing on Friday to dispel Cink's recommendation, building a 1-stroke lead to 5 with asizzling 7-under 64, despite finishing the round in a heavy rain shower. It's his best 36-hole start in six years.

"I'm off to a good start so far, but again, we're only at the halfway point," Woods said. "With the way the conditions are, and the greens as soft as they are and as smooth as they are, you're going to have to make some birdies. The (winning) score is not going to be 15, so you've got to continue making birdies."

As on Thursday, Woods made an eagle on the 18th hole. Unlike Thursday, the 18th was the mid point of his round after starting play on the back nine. Thursday Woods hit a 2-iron to 20 feet from the cup, Friday it was a 246-yard 5-wood to 10 feet behind the flag.

He made birdie on four of his next six holes. When he finished he was at 15-under 127. That's his best score after two days since Woods went 64-61 at Firestone in 2000 at the NEC Invitational. He went on to win that tournament by 11 shots.

Jim Furyk was 7 under through 13 holes until he missed the fairway at No. 6 and could not reach the green from the deep rough. He made his only bogey of the round, finished with three pars and still shot 65 to get into the final group Saturday with a familiar face. Woods and Furyk played all four team matches together at the Ryder Cup, as well as all three practice rounds.

Cink was at 11 under until a bogey from the rough on his 17th hole and he carded a 67. Cink started slowly and was four shots behind Woods when he found his stride. He hit his tee shot into 3 feet on the par-3 16th, holed a 20-footer from just off the green at No. 17, then made a 12-foot eagle putt on the 18th.

"I finish my front nine birdie-birdie-eagle, and I thought I had gotten myself right back in it. I thought that might get me within one or two shots of the lead," Cink said. "The next time I see a leaderboard, Tiger is at 15 (under). I actually lost ground."

Woods¡¯record on the PGA Tour is 25-6 when he has at least a share of the 36-hole lead, although that's not quite as daunting as his 37-3 record atop the leaderboard going into the final round.

Even though Woods lost in the first round of the World Match Play Championship two weeks ago on the European Tour, a victory at the American Express would be his sixth in a row on the PGA Tour, inching closer to the record 11 straight won by Byron Nelson, whose funeral was Friday in Texas. Enditem

(Agencies)

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