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Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson work their way up the leader board

Tiger Woods holds his ball after a putt

Tiger Woods holds his ball after a putt during during the 79th Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on Friday, April 10, 2015, in Augusta, Ga. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Timothy A. Clary

AUGUSTA, Ga. - Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson might not have a million traits in common, but they do have a few. High among those are a love for the Masters and a dogged refusal to give up. Both of which moved them around the course and up the leader board Friday.

Woods continued to show progress in a game that had appeared in tatters. He played solidly, shooting 3-under-par 69 to finish the second round at 2 under. It was well behind leader Jordan Spieth's 14 under, but it was progress.

Mickelson was even better. Playing in the late afternoon, he shot 68 to reach 6 under, good for sixth place and a late tee time (2:35 p.m., with Paul Casey in the third from last pairing). That was a big step for a golfer who said the other day that his year has been "terrible."

He acknowledged that Spieth will be hard to catch. "He was playing some of the best golf coming into this tournament, he's playing the best golf in this tournament," Mickelson said. "But you never know what's going to happen in this golf tournament and if something were to happen, I want to be there to take over."

Woods, who played at the end of the morning wave, mentioned the possibility that the course could be made more difficult for the third round, although rain was expected Friday night. In any case, he believes he is on a good path after having taken time off to work on his game.

"I was at a pretty low [point] in my career, but to basically change an entire pattern," he said, "and put it in a position where I can compete in a major championship like this is something I'm very proud of."

Saturday, he will get to play with a familiar face: Sergio Garcia in the 1:15 p.m. pairing.

New York Sports