5 Things: Woods' driver carries him into the lead

Tiger Woods lines up a putt on the 13th green during the second round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines – North Course.
Tiger Woods lines up a putt on the 13th green during the second round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines – North Course. ( Getty Images )

Friday, January 25, 2013

SAN DIEGO – Tiger Woods is on top of the leaderboard at Torrey Pines. Here’s 5 Things you need to know from the second round at the Farmers Insurance Open:

1. SAME OLD STORY: Woods owns a two-shot lead after using the North Course’s short par-5s to shoot 65 on Friday. He was 5 under on the four par-5s, including an eagle at No. 18 (his ninth hole) after hitting a long-iron shot within 10 feet. He missed just two fairways Friday, and was confident enough with driver to use it even on the North Course’s shortest par-4s. He made birdie at the uphill 326-yard, par-4 second hole after hitting driver in the fairway 40 yards short of the green and hitting the flagstick with his approach.

“I drove the ball great and took advantage of the par-5s,” he said. “I’ve had beautiful practice sessions at home. Even though last week (in Abu Dhabi) I only played two days, I felt like I hit the ball well enough to shoot a better score than I did. ... I had a couple days at home to work on it, and I came out here felt pretty good about it.”

Woods, who missed the cut in last week’s Abu Dhabi Championship, is seeking his seventh victory at the Farmers Insurance Open, and eighth PGA Tour victory at Torrey Pines. His win at the 2008 U.S. Open here is his last major championship.

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2. IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Billy Horschel is an excitable guy. He doesn’t like waiting for late tee times, even though they’re an indicator of success. Good thing for him that the final group at the Farmers Insurance Open tees off at 9:40 a.m. Saturday. Horschel will play with Woods and Casey Wittenberg, the 2012 Web.com Tour player of the year.

“It helps a lot,” Horschel said of the earlier tee time. “Waiting until 1:30, 2:00, I (don’t) know what to do with myself because I don’t sleep in very late. I’ve found a couple things I need to do before I tee off to keep my mind away from wandering.”

Horschel shot 69 Friday at Torrey Pines South to move into second place. This was his 14th consecutive cut made, the third-best active streak on Tour. He hopes his experience at the 2007 Walker Cup will help him handle Saturday’s large crowds. This will be his first round with Woods.

“There was a guy I competed against three times called Rory McIlroy,” Horschel said. That Walker Cup was held in McIlroy’s home country, Northern Ireland. “There may have been 10, 12,000 people following us.”

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3. VICTORY SEEKERS: Horschel isn’t the only contender seeking his first PGA Tour victory. In fact, Woods’ seven closest pursuers have a combined zero PGA Tour victories. Six players are tied for third at 8-under 136 – Wittenberg, Brad Fritsch, Erik Compton, Steve Marino, Jimmy Walker and Josh Teater. Three of those six earned their cards via last year’s Q-School or Web.com Tour: Wittenberg, Fritsch and Compton. Horschel also regained his PGA Tour card via last year’s Q-School.

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4. FALLING DOWN: K.J. Choi and Brandt Snedeker, the co-leaders after shooting first-round 65s, both were over par on Friday. Choi shot 73 on the easier North Cours, while Snedeker, the defending champion, shot a second-round 75 on the South Course.

Snedeker’s 75 was just his second over-par round at Torrey Pines since 2009. He shot a 2-over 74 in last year’s third round. Snedeker has finished in the top 10 at this event for three consecutive years. He was runner-up here in 2010 and T-9 in 2011 before winning last year. Choi had never finished better than 15th in this event.

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5. SHORT SHOTS: Mike Weir shot 75 Friday at Torrey Pines’ South Course, but it was enough for him to make his first cut since 2011. Weir had failed to make the cut in his previous 18 PGA Tour starts. He’s T-41 at 3-under 141 (66-75). ... Jordan Spieth missed the cut in his PGA Tour debut as a professional, shooting 1-over 145 (72-73). His next PGA Tour start is expected to come at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. ... U.S. Amateur champion Steven Fox missed the cut after shooting 70-78. ... Luke List was 2 under par on his first six holes Friday to get into second place at 8 under. He triple-bogeyed his final hole, the par-5 18th at Torrey Pines South, to shoot 75, though. He’s now T-41 at 3 under. ... Rickie Fowler was in 154th place after a first-round 77 on the South Course. He made the cut, though, after shooting 65 on the North. ... For the second straight week, the three-time Farmers Insurance Open winner Phil Mickelson flirted with missing the cut. At last week’s Humana Challenge, he birdied two of his last three holes Saturday to make the cut by two. This week, he made the cut on the number at 1-under.

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