MELBOURNE - Tiger Woods battled swirling breezes and some wayward driving to card a patient four-under-par 68 and take a three-stroke lead after the second round of the A$1.5 million ($1.4 million) Australian Masters on Friday.
Tiger Woods of the U.S. hits from the rough on the 9th hole in round two of the Australian Masters golf tournament in Melbourne November 13, 2009. [Agencies]
Woods, co-leader overnight, made two of his four birdies in his first two holes to take the outright lead, then held firm with six successive pars to finish with a 10-under total of 134 in bright sunshine at Kingston Heath Golf Club.
"Today I didn't really do anything great but I made two big par putts at nine and 14 to keep the round going," the world number one told reporters.
"To shoot 68 today, I thought it was a pretty good number considering the conditions ... To not drop a shot today was hard. Those are always days that you feel quite good about."
Woods's patience was in marked contrast to his nearest challengers, who threatened at times but crumbled with bogeys late on as the wind picked up in the afternoon.
Australian James Nitties, who shared a one-stroke lead with Woods and South Africa's Branden Grace overnight, clawed within a stroke of Woods with his third birdie on the par-five 14th.
However, he fell back with two late bogeys to join compatriot Greg Chalmers and American Jason Dufner in joint second on seven under.
Australia's Adam Scott shot a one-under 71 to match his first round score and is eight strokes behind Woods on two under.
The projected cut was three-over-par 147.