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Sports

Tiger soars up leaderboard

The Associated Press
Published:   |   Updated: March 23, 2013 at 04:43 AM
GRAND BLANC TOWNSHIP, Mich. -

Tiger Woods had the best five-hole start of his career, chipping in for eagle and making four birdies.

Woods finished with a season-low 9-under 63 Friday in the Buick Open to shoot up the leaderboard. The round was his best in relation to par in four years.

Just when it looked as if he was claiming temporary ownership of the mercurial game, though, he was reminded that's impossible on his sixth hole.

The savvy Woods saw stronger wind coming as he looked at trees in the distance, buying time by tossing blades of grass up in the air twice and stepping out of his stance two times.

When Woods finally hit his approach, a gust of wind knocked down his ball and sent it into the sand.

"That was the best swing I've made," he said. "I hit the shot absolutely perfect.

"It was a low, fading 5-iron and I thought it was going to be within 4 or 5 feet of the hole. Actually, I was in a bunker. It was just kind of ironic."

Woods was coming off what he said was probably the worst putting day of his career Thursday, leading to a lackluster 71 in his first competitive round since missing the cut at the British Open.

He quickly clawed back into contention with his birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie tear and finished the day 10 under for the tournament.

John Senden shot 66 to take the second-round lead at 14 under, two shots ahead of Michael Letzig (65) and another stroke in front of Vaughn Taylor (68) and Bill Lunde (65).

Woods entered the weekend four strokes back in a pack of six, including Kevin Stadler, who shot his second straight 67.

Senden is shooting for his second PGA Tour title and first in three years. The Australian has four top-10 finishes this season, including a pair of fourth-place ties.

"This year, I've been moving in the right direction," Senden said. "I just need to focus and do my stuff.

"I need to continue with that attitude knowing possibly 20, 22 under is going to win the event."

The average winning score has been almost 21 under since 2000 at Warwick Hills, one of the easiest courses on the PGA Tour.

Woods, making his ninth Buick Open appearance, usually takes advantage of the relatively short course with smooth-rolling greens that don't have many undulations.

His sensational start surpassed the 5 under he had on his first five holes in 2006 - the same ones he had his way with Friday at Nos. 10-14 - when he went on to win his second Buick Open and his 50th PGA Tour title.

He had his best round, in relation to par, since an 11-under 61 at the 2005 Buick Open, when he also opened with a 71. His last 63 helped him repeat at the 2007 PGA Championship.

John Daly almost hit rock bottom with an 88, his worst score in a regular PGA Tour event. He ended at 20-over 160.

Amateur ties record in U.S. Senior Open

CARMEL, Ind. - Tennessee amateur Tim Jackson left Greg Norman and Joey Sindelar behind Friday in the U.S. Senior Open.

The 50-year-old Jackson real estate developer shot a 5-under 67 at Crooked Stick to take the lead at 11-under 133 - matching the lowest 36-hole total in event history. He opened with a 66 on Thursday, the best score by an amateur in the event.

Norman stumbled early in the round, but he recovered nicely, ending the round with consecutive birdies to get to 8 under. He was three strokes back after a 70.

Sindelar was a stroke behind Jackson. He started on the back nine and followed his course-record 66 with a 68. A birdie on No. 6 gave Sindelar a share of the lead, but he dropped a stroke on the next hole and finished the day by pulling a 5-foot birdie putt that would have tied Jackson to the left.

Fred Funk (67) was third at 9 under. He led briefly Friday before Jackson had three straight birdies on the back side. Three-time U.S. Open champ Hale Irwin was the only other player with a 67 in the second round. He was 1 over.

WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN: Catriona Matthew of Scotland hit a hole-in-one in a 5-under 67 to share the second-round lead with Giulia Sergas of Italy at Lytham St. Annes, England.

Sergas also shot 67 after making five birdies on the back nine. Both players totaled 3-under 141 at Royal Lytham and St. Annes links course.

Matthew had a course-record back nine of 7-under 30.

Yuko Mitsuka (71) was a shot back in third.

JUNIOR PGA CHAMPIONSHIP: Alexis Thompson pulled away to win the girls' division at the Junior PGA Championship in Maineville, Ohio, and T.J. Vogel took the boys' title on the TPC River's Bend course.

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