AKRON, Ohio - Rock-steady Jim Furyk maintained both momentum and a two-shot lead early in Friday's second round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational while seven-times champion Tiger Woods again struggled with his putting.
Furyk, who opened with a superb seven-under-par 63 in the elite World Golf Championships (WGC) event, followed up with a five-birdie 66 on another steamy day at Firestone Country Club.
The veteran American covered his back nine in a flawless two-under 33, posting an 11-under total of 129 to finish two strokes in front of Spaniard Rafael Cabrera Bello (65).
South African Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion, was at eight under, also after a 65, with American David Toms a further three strokes back after returning a 67.
Woods, who had totalled 33 putts on the slick Firestone greens in the opening round, mixed four bogeys with two birdies for a 72 to end the day a distant 13 strokes off the pace.
Furyk, who clinched the most recent of his 16 PGA Tour victories at the 2010 season-ending Tour Championship, was delighted to retain control of the tournament after starting the day two ahead of the chasing pack.
“Obviously I'm happy to shoot 66,” the smiling 42-year-old told reporters. “At times you go out there and fire a low score one day and it's hard to follow it up the next and keep that momentum going.
“So I was able to kind of keep that momentum. I knocked in a couple of good putts today and made some great saves actually, some good par saves, to keep the round going.”
While Furyk was in an upbeat mood, Woods was a frustrated figure after needing 29 putts in the second round.
“I hit it good, made nothing (on the greens),” the 14-times major winner said. “I figured something out finally on the 17th hole, but too little, too late.
“I get in these little spells where it's hot or cold. Generally I was a decent putter over the years, but lately it's been very streaky, I'm making everything or I make nothing.”
Woods, who has triumphed a season-high three times on the 2012 PGA Tour, explained that his putting woes stemmed from the wayward path of his putter.
“I had my lines good, but it's just setting my path out,” he said. “I was trying to marry the two. I was trying to figure it out last night on the putting green.
“Yesterday was bad putts. Today I had good speed and just still not quite right. And the putts I did (hit) pure, they were just lipping out. So that's fine.
“But I just need to get more consistent where I just don't hit a bad putt. As soon as I start doing that, everything will be fine.”
British world number one Luke Donald, who opened with a 66, and defending champion Adam Scott of Australia, who carded a first-round 71, were among the day's late starters. – Reuters