Charlotte, NC – Nick Watney fired an eight-under 64 Friday to grab a one-stroke lead after two rounds of the Wells Fargo Championship.
Watney, who missed the cut in New Orleans last week, finished 36 holes at 12- under-par 132. This is the fourth time Watney has owned at least a piece of the 36-hole lead, but he failed to win the previous three.
Webb Simpson, one of three first-round co-leaders, posted a four-under 68 and is alone in second place at minus-11.
Ben Crane matched Watney's 64 to jump into a share of third place at 10-under 134. He stands alongside D.A. Points (68), John Senden (68) and first-round co-leader Stewart Cink (69).
Ryan Moore, the other first-round leader, managed a two-under 70 to slip into seventh place at minus-nine at Quail Hollow.
Tiger Woods pieced together a one-over 73 on Friday to finish at even-par, but will have a rare weekend off. In what was his 267th event as a professional, this marked just the eighth missed cut for Woods. It will also be the first time he has missed the weekend two times at the same event, after he also missed the cut in 2010.
"The entire week I didn't play the par fives well. Today I made four pars. You just can't do that, especially when all of them are reachable with irons," said Woods. "I didn't take care of the par fives, missed a couple other little short ones for birdie, and consequently got no momentum during the round."
Woods started Friday's round with a three-putt par on 10th, but bounced back with a birdie on 11 to move to minus-two. A poor tee shot at the 12th led to a bogey.
The 2007 champion three-putted the 13th for a second straight bogey. He righted the ship with an 18-foot birdie putt on No. 17. Woods bogeyed the 18th to make the turn at even-par. Woods ran off nine straight pars to close out his round.
It was not without drama though.
Woods pulled his second shot way left on the par-five fifth. As the crowd surrounded the ball, it disappeared. It was ruled that someone picked up the ball, so Woods was given a free drop. He chipped to 27 feet, but two-putted for par.
"They saw the ball bounce and go into that area there, and then they saw people go around where the ball went. You know, just looking at that area, it's basically bare ground, trampled down pine needles," explained PGA Tour rules official Mark Russell. "If it had been deep mulch or pine needles, it would have been a different situation. Based on the evidence there, it looked like to me somebody picked up the ball."
Woods parred the last two holes to miss the cut by one. The cut line fell at one-under-par 143. Woods was one of three former winners to miss the weekend. Lucas Glover and Vijay Singh also missed the cut.
This was Woods's first start since he tied for 40th at the Masters. That came after his first win in over two years, when he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational by five strokes.
Cink was atop the leaderboard late in the round, but stumbled to bogeys on 17 and 18 to open the door for Watney.
"I was very pleased overall, and finishing like that is not what you want to do, of course, but they're tough holes," Cink admitted. "But looking at it as a whole, I think overall I'm very pleased, and I probably would have taken 10- under for two rounds before we teed off Thursday."
Watney, who was two groups behind Cink, got his round going with a six-foot birdie putt at the second. After a pair of pars, Watney got up-and-down for birdie on No. 5 to move to six-under.
At the par-five seventh, Watney two-putted for birdie and he came right back with a three-foot birdie effort on the eighth. Around the turn, Watney two- putted for birdie on the par-five 10th. He made it two in a row with a 10- footer on No. 11, which got him to 10-under.
The 31-year-old Watney converted his third consecutive birdie chance at the 12th. His run ended with a three-putt bogey on the 13th. He reached the par- five 15th in two and poured in a 41-footer for eagle and a share of the lead.
Watney two-putted for par on the final three holes to grab the lead as Cink stumbled down the stretch.
"I played great. I hit the ball probably the best I have all year. I putted well, and I'm very, very pleased," Watney said. "But we're only halfway done, so I'm really looking forward to the weekend."
Simpson, who played with Woods, played the back nine first on Friday and had three birdies on his opening nine. Like Cink, Simpson cost himself a share of the lead with a late stumble. After five consecutive pars, Simpson birdied the fifth. He moved to a 12-under with a birdie on the eighth.
At the ninth, his last, Simpson's drive landed in the rough and he came up short of the green with his approach. Simpson chipped to 11 feet, but two- putted for bogey. That cost him a share of the second-round lead.
U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy celebrated his 23rd birthday by shooting a 68 to move him into a share of 13th at minus-six.
NOTES: Glover was the third straight winner to miss the cut in his title defense...Angel Cabrera, Henrik Stenson, Bill Haas, PGA Champion Keegan Bradley and Retief Goosen were among others that missed the cut.