Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Tiger leads the pack at USPGA

Tiger Woods fired a 71 to take a share of the halfway lead

Another weekend, another chance - and Tiger Woods knows he cannot afford to keep messing them up.

Four short of Jack Nicklaus' 18-major record for the last four years, Woods is once more looking to close the gap after taking a share of the halfway lead, alongside Vijay Singh and Carl Pettersson, in the USPGA Championship at Kiawah Island.

After his 71, Woods said: "I thought anything even par or better was going to be a good score - that was my goal and I accomplished that. It was a tough, tough day. The ball is oscillating and the wind is blowing the putter all over the place. My short game's been good. I've made a few changes and I've had a pretty good feel for it."

Woods, Singh and Pettersson stood four under, one ahead of England's Ian Poulter, who also three-putted the 18th, with Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy and Wales' Jamie Donaldson tied for fifth only two back.

Singh was the only player to break 70 all day - only by one - because of winds so strong that the scoring average was a championship record 78.1. There was even a 93 from one of the 20 club professionals in the field.

Woods added: "You can't short-side yourself out there. You've got to leave yourself on the fat side and give yourself some room. And then some of these bunkers are not bunkers - they're either hard pan or mud."

None of them are termed bunkers, in fact, and players are allowed to ground their clubs for all shots in sand. This year last time Woods' career really looked at the crossroads after he missed the cut in this event by six.

But he has won four tournaments since then and has an opportunity to regain the world number one spot after a gap of nearly two years.

"I've been told I would never win again, so I'll just play it out," he said. "I know that once I get into the rhythm of playing and being able to practise things will get better - and they have. I'm starting to see some nice consistency and I'm very pleased by that."

Singh is 49 and would become the oldest major winner in history if he triumphs. He won the last of his 34 PGA Tour titles four years ago, but said: "I just started believing that I can do it. I made a little tweak to my swing during the British Open and my head is in a better spot. I'm more focused."

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