Tiger Woods takes three-shot lead at Chevron World Challenge

Tiger Woods acknowledges the crowd after making an Tiger Woods acknowledges the crowd after making an eagle putt on the second hole during the second round of the Chevron World Challenge golf tournament at Sherwood Country Club. (Dec. 2, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

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THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Tiger Woods knows he’s playing better than he has in the last two years, and he has the leaderboard to prove it.

Woods hit a half-dozen extraordinary shots Friday in the Chevron World Challenge on his way to a 5-under 67, giving him a three-shot lead over Matt Kuchar and K.J. Choi at Sherwood Country Club.

It was the second straight tournament that Woods had the 36-hole lead. Three weeks ago at the Australian Open, he was one shot ahead until a 75 in the third round. Woods wound up in third place at The Lakes, his best finish of the year. With each round, it looks as though his best might not be too far behind.

Woods had two eagles, and nearly had a third with a flop shot from behind the 13th green that he was still talking about long after his round. Not even a double bogey on the par-3 15th hole when a gust knocked his ball into the water could keep him from a comfortable lead after two rounds.

“I want the lead after four days,” said Woods, winless in his last 26 official starts dating to the Australian Masters in November 2009. “Two days is nice, but four days is even better. I know I’m playing better, and it’s nice to see my position on the leaderboard equating to it.”

Woods was at 8-under 136 and will play in the final group Saturday with Kuchar.

Kuchar shot 67 to match Woods and Zach Johnson for the best score of the day. Choi had a 73. Johnson and Hunter Mahan (68) were four shots behind at 4-under 140 in the 18-player event.

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