Published March 08, 2013
| Sports Network
Miami, Florida – Tiger Woods fired a 7-under 65 on Friday to take sole possession of first place at the WGC - Cadillac Championship.
The six-time winner, who was one of five players to own a share of the lead at the end of the first round, sits at 13-under 131 after two rounds at the TPC Blue Monster at Doral. Woods is two shots clear of Graeme McDowell after the 2010 U.S. Open champion carded a 5-under 67 to stand at 11-under 133 for the tournament.
"I feel like I'm playing well. I probably hit the ball better at Torrey, but I'm putting better here so it all evens out," Woods said in a televised interview. "With the forecast of wind on Sunday, hopefully I can hit the ball a little bit better and still maintain my balance and feel on the greens."
Phil Mickelson (67) and Steve Stricker (67) share third at 10-under, while Bubba Watson (69) and Freddie Jacobson (69) sit in fifth at minus-9.
Charl Schwartzel also shot 7-under 65 on Friday to jump into a share of seventh place with Keegan Bradley (68) at 8-under.
Defending champion Justin Rose was tied with Schwartzel and Bradley with three holes to play, but he closed his round with a bogey at the seventh and a six on the par-3 ninth en route to a 72. He is tied for 27th at 4-under.
Woods entered the day tied with McDowell, Watson, Sergio Garcia and Jacobson for the top spot, but it was Stricker who first broke through to take the early lead.
Playing with one of the earlier groups, Stricker opened his round with a birdie at the 10th before rolling in a 13-foot birdie putt at the 16th to take the outright lead at minus-7.
Watson, playing in the same group as Stricker, answered with a 5-foot birdie putt at the same hole to join Stricker at 7-under, while McDowell, who also started on the 10th tee, birdied the 17th to join them atop the leaderboard.
Stricker poured in a 4-foot birdie putt at the 17th to again move ahead of the pack before Woods stepped onto the course and stuck his tee shot at the par-3 fourth within five feet, converting the birdie putt to move within one of the lead.
Woods then hit his second shot at the fifth within three feet and tapped it in to move to minus-8 and grab a share of first place.
Stricker moved one clear of Woods with a 5-foot birdie putt at the first, but stumbled to a bogey at the second to fall back into a tie with Woods and McDowell, who poured in an 11-foot birdie putt at the first to move into a share of first.
Woods, however, gained the outright lead with a birdie at the seventh before Mickelson put together a string of three straight birdies starting at the first to join him in the lead at 9-under.
Woods then curled in a 16-foot birdie putt at the eighth -- his fourth birdie in five holes -- to again move ahead of the pack.
Mickelson had a chance to join Woods at 10-under with a 12-foot birdie attempt at the fourth, but he pushed his attempt just wide to stay a shot back.
Mickelson was able to join Woods atop the leaderboard with a 7-foot birdie putt at the fifth, but Woods recovered from a greenside bunker at the 10th and sunk an 8-foot birdie putt to move ahead for good.
After Mickelson failed to convert a 16-foot birdie putt at the sixth to remain a shot back, Woods rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt at the 11th to move two shots clear at 12-under.
McDowell was then able to grab sole possession of second place with birdies at the eighth and ninth, coupled with Mickelson's bogey at the seventh.
The bogey dropped Mickelson to minus-9, but he hit his tee shot within a foot of a hole-in-one at the ninth to close with a birdie and move into a tie for third with Stricker.
"I gave it a little body wiggle, and usually if you give it a little body wiggle you'll get an extra foot or two release out of it," Mickelson joked in a TV interview. "I gave it the body wiggle and it still didn't get that extra foot. That's what I don't get."
Woods traded a birdie at the 13th with a bogey at the 14th to stay one stroke ahead of McDowell at 12-under before he was able to scramble out of a bunker at the 16th and roll in a 9-foot putt for his eighth birdie of the day.
Back-to-back pars at the 17th and 18th allowed Woods to hold firm at 13-under.
NOTE: Woods has recorded 17 birdies over his first two rounds, setting a new career high. His previous record was 16 at the 2007 Tour Championship, the 2000 WGC-NEC Invitational and the 1999 GTE Byron Nelson Classic ... World No. 1 Rory McIlroy carded a 3-under 69 on Friday for his first round in the 60s this year. He is currently tied for 32nd at 2-under for the tournament ... Woods was 14-for-14 on putts from inside 10 feet on Friday .. Woods has held or shared the 36-hole lead 45 times in his career and has gone on to win 35 of those tournaments.