Tiger Woods hits a second shot at the 12th hole fairway in Inzai, Japan. Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP
After storms washed out the second round of the Zozo Championship at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club, American golfer Tiger Woods surprised himself with a second straight 64 on Saturday for a two-stroke lead over Gary Woodland at the halfway stage of the rain-delayed Zozo Championship in Japan.
Woods, who grabbed a share of the lead with a 6-under-par in the opening round.
"I'm surprised that I was able to score as well as I have," admitted Woods, who is playing his first tournament for two months after having arthroscopic knee surgery.
"It usually that takes a little bit of time. I've been able to strike my irons pretty well this week so far and that's been nice."Due to the poor course conditions, there were no spectators allowed for the second round as heavy rain fell on the course from Thursday night through to Friday.
The 15-time major winner lit up the back nine in five-under 31 to take control on an empty Narashino Country Club course, closed to spectators for safety after soaking up more than six inches (150mm) of rain during Friday's washout.
"I had made a couple putts today and I went to put my hand up and I'm like, don't put your hand up, there's no one clapping," said Woods.
Chasing a record-equalling 82nd PGA Tour victory, Woods had bounced back from bogeying his opening three holes to shoot a mesmerising 64 with nine birdies in Thursday's first round.
He started more steadily on Saturday and was one-under at the turn before switching on the afterburners.
"Hit the ball a little bit better than I did (Thursday)," Woods said. "Let's hope that trend continues."
Three birdies in four holes from the 10th took him alongside clubhouse leader Woodland at 10-under.
Woods kept his foot down. The US Masters champion smoked a massive drive down the long par-four 17th and his pinpoint approach from 154 yards left him a simple two-footer to take the solo lead.
He saw a 20-foot eagle putt slip by at the par-five 18th but tapped in for his seventh birdie of the round and a 36-hole 12-under par total of 128.
US Open champion and overnight co-leader Woodland said he had to dig deep for his 66 to keep in touch with Woods.
"It was a grind all day," said the 35 year-old. "I didn't have my best stuff today. Fortunately I made three big putts there on 16, 17 and 18 which was awesome."
Friday's postponed round finally began at 10am Saturday on a weather-ravaged course with bright sunshine helping to dry the turf.
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