Palm Beach Gardens, FL – Justin Rose carded a four-under 66 and Tom Gillis fired a 64 as they moved into a share of the lead after two rounds of The Honda Classic.
Rose and Gillis are tied at eight-under-par 132. Rose earned his third PGA Tour win last year at the BMW Championship, while Gillis is winless on tour.
World No. 2 Rory McIlroy carded a three-under 67 to move into a tie for third at minus-seven. Dicky Pride also shot 67 to finish alongside McIlroy. With a win this week, McIlroy would ascend to the top spot in the world rankings.
The story of the day was Brian Harman, who had a chance to fire a 59. He settled for a nine-under 61 to end 36 holes at six-under-par 134, where was joined by Jimmy Walker (67) and Vaughn Taylor (66).
Harman's 61 was a new course record at the PGA National Champion Course by three strokes. After a pair of birdies to start his round, Harman eagled the par-five third. Two more birdies on the front nine got him to six-under for the day.
Around the turn, Harman birdied the 11th, but gave that stroke right back on the 12th. He poured in three consecutive birdies from the 14th to jump to nine-under for his round, and six-under overall.
Harman had a par-three and par-five to close out his round. After a par on 17, Harman needed an eagle at the last to shoot 59. His second shot found a greenside bunker and he blasted to five feet. Harman two-putted for a closing par.
"I got off to a really hot start and just kept the pedal down all day," Harman said. "I had about 250 to the hole (on 18) and it's usually a three-wood. But today with a chance to do something really special, I tried to hit hybrid and got up in the wind a little bit and came up just a little bit short. I hit a pretty good shot. Obviously, I was trying to do the magic number."
Tiger Woods, who is playing this event for the first time since 1993, birdied his final two holes to post a two-under 68. He ended two rounds at one-under- par 139.
Woods played the back nine first on Friday and had two birdies and a bogey on that nine. He birdied the par-four fourth to get to minus-one, but knocked his tee shot into the water on the par-three fifth.
That led to a double-bogey, which dropped Woods back to the cut line of plus- one. His closing birdies helped Woods end two rounds in a tie for 31st.
"I got it going, lost it, got it going, lost it and then got it going. It was a little bit of a fight today," Woods said. "Probably the worst I've hit the ball in months."
Rose also started on the back nine Friday. He birdied the 12th, then poured in three birdies in a four-hole span from the 16th to make the turn at eight- under.
The Englishman was tied for the lead at that point, but he moved ahead with birdies on the third and fifth. Rose missed the next two greens and failed to get up and down both times.
Those bogeys dropped Rose back into a share of the lead, and he remained there as he parred his final two holes.
"I'm really happy with that, obviously a pair of 66s to open up things here is more than acceptable," Rose said. "I'm happy I got to see the course play the way it did today and get a feel for it and look forward to the weekend."
Gillis had one birdie through eight holes, but flew up the leaderboard with four birdies in a six-hole stretch from the ninth. Gillis birdied the par-five 18th to grab a piece of the lead.
"It was good. Didn't really have any hiccups on the front nine," said Gillis, who was one of two players to finish his first round earlier Friday. "That made me feel good about things. It wasn't a perfect round but it was pretty good."
NOTES: Gillis, Ted Potter, Jr. and 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell all shot 64s on Friday to match the old course record...First-round leader Davis Love III struggled to a two-over 72 to slide into a tie for 11th at minus- four. A day after having a hole-in-one on the par-three fifth, Love struggled to a double-bogey five there on Friday...The cut line fell at one-over-par 141 with 77 players moving on to the weekend...Among those that missed the cut were Jim Furyk, Hank Kuehne, Thomas Bjorn, Johnson Wagner and reigning British Open champion Darren Clarke.