Farmingdale, NY – Sergio Garcia continued his spectacular form on Friday with a 3-under 68 and is tied with Nick Watney for the second- round lead of The Barclays, the first event on the PGA Tour Playoffs.
Garcia and Watney, who had a 2-under 69 in round two at Bethpage Black, are knotted at 8-under 134.
Tiger Woods battled a back injury all day Friday, but gutted out a 2-under 69. He is part of a group tied for seventh at 5-under par. The FedExCup points leader looked like he might withdraw several times, but was able to finish and stay in contention.
"Must have slept funny on it," said Woods, who won the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black. "Soft beds at the hotel, and woke up this morning with it stiff. You know, as I warmed up, it got progressively worse, and then you saw what happened on the golf course."
What happened was Woods limped all over the golf course and gingerly picked the ball out of the cup. He slipped on a fairway bunker at 13, and that's where it appeared he might have worsened the injury.
"Yeah, that didn't feel very good. That didn't feel very good at all," he said.
Woods said he never considered pulling out of the event and with some help, he should be just fine on Saturday.
"We have a fitness van. I'm going to go there as soon as I'm done with you guys," Woods said at his media gathering. "I'm probably going to sleep on the floor. I do that in Europe all the time, so this is nothing new."
Vijay Singh shot a 4-under 67 and is tied for third place with Bob Estes, who fired a 66 on Friday. The pair came in at 7-under par.
John Senden (68) and Pat Perez (70) shared fifth at minus-6.
Rickie Fowler (70), John Huh (67) and Gary Christian (71) joined Woods at 5- under 137.
First-round leader Padraig Harrington, who is battling to be one of European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal's two captain's picks on Monday, struggled to a 4-over 75 and fell into a tie for 16th at 3-under.
World No. 1 and PGA Champion Rory McIlroy will be on that European Ryder Cup team. On Friday, he only managed a 2-over 73 and is tied for 52nd at even-par.
Garcia will be on that squad thanks to win on Monday at the Wyndham Championship. He continued his fine play with a 66 on Thursday and started on the 10th tee Friday.
He broke into red figures with a birdie at the par-5 13th after a successful lay up led to a wedge shot to five feet. Garcia parred the last five of his opening side, then chipped in for birdie at the second.
The Spaniard's luck ran out at the par-3 third. After Garcia hit "probably the worst shot I hit all week," he made bogey and fell back to 6-under par for the championship.
Garcia atoned for the hiccup at three quickly. He got up and down for birdie from a back bunker at the par-5 fourth and knocked an 8-iron to six feet to set up birdie at the fifth.
He missed a little putt for birdie at the seventh, but saved a great par from 12 feet at the last to stay atop the leaderboard and continue this great run of golf.
"Obviously we know how much confidence helps in this game," said Garcia. "But it's feeling better out there, feeling more comfortable with what I'm doing, being able to more or less do the right things. Obviously getting a few breaks my way obviously helps, but overall I think if you add all those things up, it helps."
Watney has enjoyed a much different season than Garcia. After two wins in 2011, Watney has just three top 10s in 2012 and the last came seven weeks ago.
"I've been frustrated quite a bit this year," acknowledged Watney. "It's been not the season I would have hoped for so far. But in golf one week can change that. It's funny how that happens, maybe unlike any other sport."
Watney rolled in a 15-foot eagle putt at the par-5 fourth and after that, it was a mixed bag.
He made a birdie and a bogey on the rest of his front nine. Watney bogeyed the 12th, but rattled off three straight birdies from the 13th, including a tap-in at No. 15.
Watney found trouble on the way into the house, starting with a 3-putt bogey at 16. He missed the green left at the last and couldn't get down for par.
"I hit the ball very nice all day, and it was weird, I made some really nice putts and I had some 3-putts," said Watney. "Kind of a live-by-the-sword, die- by-the-sword type of day. But overall very pleased and looking forward to the weekend."
NOTES: Defending champion Dustin Johnson shot an even-par 71 and shares 11th at 4-under par...Phil Mickelson bogeyed his last three holes Friday and is in the group with McIlroy and Luke Donald at even-par...The 36-hole cut fell at 1-over par and U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson, Jim Furyk, Keegan Bradley, Graeme McDowell and reigning FedExCup champion Bill Haas all missed the cut.