Tiger Fires 65, Up by Two at Torrey Pines

Tiger Woods shot a 7-under 65 Friday to reach 11-under 133 and take a two-stroke lead through 36 holes of the Farmers Insurance Open. The $6.1 million PGA Tour event began yesterday at Torrey Pines near San Diego.

Woods, a six-time winner of the tournament, posted a half-dozen birdies, an eagle and a bogey on the North course at the 36-hole municipal facility. He began the second round in a light sprinkle, but the rain increased as the day wore on.

Starting on the 10th tee, he carded two birdies and an eagle on the par-5 18th (his ninth) to make the turn in 4-under 36, then tallied his other four birdies and the lone bogey - on the par-4 eighth (his 17th) - for a 33.

Woods enters the weekend two strokes up on Billy Horschel, who had a 69 on South, and three over Casey Wittenberg (69 North), Canada's Brad Fritsch (67 South), Erik Compton (65 North), Steve Marino (68 North), Jimmy Walker (69 South) and Josh Teater (70 North).

"I played well today," said Woods, who opened with a 68 on the much tougher South course, site of his victory in the 2008 U.S. Open, the most recent of his 14 major titles. "On the North course, drive the ball well here and you're going to probably have 4-iron shots into the par-5s.

"I hit good shots all the way," he added. "I hit a driver and 5-iron to 18. I hit a driver and 8-iron to one, and a driver and flip sand wedge to two. So I didn't really miss a shot through that stretch.

"That's something I needed to work on, and as you saw toward the end of last season, it started to come around. I haven't had to hit as many golf balls, so I've been able to dedicate more time to my short game and consequently, it's better."

Woods remarked that the moist greens at Torrey Pines were difficult to negotiate, saying, "The greens aren't very good at all - they're squirrelly. (The rain) certainly softened it up. The greens became pretty soft, and they became pretty bumpy . . . I tried to hit every putt where it was just falling in and not having any putts coming back because they're a little testy from about two feet."

Seven players - Nick Watney (68), Luke Guthrie (69), Aussie John Senden (68), Tag Ridings (70), South Korean Charlie Wi (66), England's Ross Fisher (71) and Justin Hicks (70) - share ninth at 137. All but Fisher posted their rounds on North.

First-round co-leader, K.J. Choi of Korea, slipped into a tie for 16th at 138 with eight other players after shooting a 73. Choi's fellow 18-hole pacesetter, defending champion Brandt Snedeker, could only manage a four-bogey-one-birdie 75 at South to go to 4-under 140.

The cut was established at 1-under 143. Among those moving on to the weekend - which will be played exclusively at the South course - is Phil Mickelson, a San Diego native and three-time winner of the tournament when it was called the Buick Invitational. Making his PGA Tour season debut, Mickelson opened with a 72 at North then carded a 71 at South to advance by a stroke.

Also moving to the final two rounds is Canada's Mike Weir. The 2003 Masters' champion opened with a promising 66 on North before a 75 at South on Friday. The left-hander, who has suffered extensively from a right-elbow injury, last made a cut in a PGA Tour event at the 2011 AT&T National and has been forced to use a one-time exemption based on career earnings to play regularly on Tour.

Weir said family - specifically his two daughters - is serving as motivation to do well this week. "They see their dad work hard every day, so they're very encouraging and positive," said Weir, whose last Tour win came in the 2007 Frys.com Electronics Open.

"Even if I have a bad week, they're like, come on, Dad, next week. So that's nice to have that support," he added. "The last time I played really well, they were pretty young, so I'd like to show them what their dad can do."

Not so fortunate is Kyle Stanley, who in 2012 blew a seven-stroke lead in the final round to Snedeker and then lost to the Tennessean on the second sudden-death playoff hole. Stanley, who rebounded the very next week last year to win in Phoenix, carded rounds of 75 on South and 76 at North.

In his debut as a touring pro, 19-year-old Jordan Spieth also missed out on a weekend spot. The Dallas teen shot rounds of 72 and 73. The winner of the U.S. Junior Championship in both 2009 and 2011 played this week on one of his seven sponsor's exemptions for 2013.

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