Woods takes lead in search of Aussie title

World No 1 establishes two-shot advantage to close in on victory at halfway stage

Tiger Woods, the world No 1, has his first title on Australian soil in his sights after establishing a two-shot break over the rest of the field at the halfway stage of the JBWere Masters at Kingston Heath.

Woods, who shared the lead after an opening 66, produced an unspectacular but thoroughly effective round of 68 yesterday to move to 10-under overall, two clear of Australia's James Nitties and Greg Chalmers, while American Jason Dufner was the best of the early tee-offs with a 67 to sit in outright fourth.

The crowd of 24,007 that turned out to watch the world's premier golfer were far from disappointed as Woods produced two birdies to kick things off in style and then gathered shots at the 6th and 12th.

The fact Woods has left a few shots out on the course is no consolation to the chasing pack, which would appear to have precious little chance of reeling him in over the course of the weekend.

Nitties, who also shot a 66 in the opening round, kept pace with the leader for much of the day, with birdies on 1, 6 and 14, but a bogey on 15 saw him slip back to eight-under for the tournament.

Chalmers picked up four birdies, three on the front nine and one on the back, to stay within touching distance.

A second-round 67 saw Dufner as the early clubhouse leader at seven-under, where he sits in outright fourth. The 32-year-old did his best work early in his round, racing to the turn in 31 on a front nine, which included five birdies.

He got to nine-under before dropping two shots late including a bogey at the last when he three-putted from 15 metres.

"All in all, it was a pretty good day, a 67 on this golf course is a pretty good score," Dufner said. "It's fantastic to come all the way over here to play golf and have a chance to win this tournament.

"It's a great tournament, one of your bigger tournaments especially with Tiger being in the field and any time you can measure up against the game's No 1 it shows you where you're at."

Three players share fifth place, Ashley Hall, Manny Villegas and Mathew Goggin. Goggin, whose 68 was the best of the afternoon rounds on Thursday, would have been hoping for something better than his 70, which comprised 16 pars and two birdies, yesterday morning.

Villegas is clearly enjoying his time in Australia and also stands five off the pace after six birdies and two bogeys, while Hall had five birdies and two bogeys in his 69.

Austria's Bernd Wiesberger moved up the leaderboard with a 67 to take a share of eighth with Stuart Appleby (70), while Cameron Percy and Branden Grace are also on five-under and are still out on the course. Of the other leading Australian contenders out early yesterday, John Senden (73, 69) is on two-under alongside Adam Scott (71, 71), a stroke clear of Richard Green (72, 71).

Rod Pampling, who played with Woods, shot a 70 for three-under overall, while Craig Parry just made the cut at two-over after a 76.

Coming off Thursday's one-over 73, Aaron Baddeley was in danger of disappearing out the back door when he double-bogeyed his fifth hole for the morning, the par-five 14th, which has proved easy pickings for virtually all the leading contenders.

But the 2007 Australian Masters champion, who also won the Australian Open at the Heath in 2000, redeemed himself with a scorching inward nine.

An eagle at the first was the trigger and he kept it going with a flurry of birdies from 5 through 7 for a 68, which has him at three-under overall.

It appears likely the cut will fall at plus-three for the top 65 in the field plus ties.

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

News
people
News
people
Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes