Tiger Woods made it safely to the weekend at the Greenbrier Classic, where Venezuela’s Jhonattan Vegas fired a five-under-par 65 to join Scott Langley atop the leaderboard on Friday.
Vegas had five birdies with no bogeys for a nine-under-par halfway total of 131. Langley, the overnight leader after a first-round 62, carded a one-under 69 to maintain a share of the lead.
They were being chased by a tightly bunched field, with a group of seven players just one stroke back.
Canadian David Hearn and American Bryce Molder carded 64s to join the group on 132, England’s Greg Owen and Americans Chad Collins and Kevin Chappel posted second-round 67s and New Zealand’s Danny Lee and American Jonathan Byrd both signed for 69s to complete the group at eight-under.
Six more players were tied on 133, and 10 more were on 134.
Former world number one Woods, coming off a dismal US Open showing at Chambers Bay, avoided missing back-to-back cuts for the first time in his pro career, firing a roller-coaster one-under 69 to head a group on 135 that also included two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson (68).
Woods, who delivered a solid 66 in the first round, made his fourth birdie of the day at the final hole, rolling in a six-footer to get back to under par for the day.
But he also had three bogeys — all on the back nine at the Old White TPC course.
After a birdie at the second, Woods reeled off eight straight pars before a bogey at the 11th. That was followed by a birdie at 12, a bogey at 13 and a birdie at 14.
After a bogey at 16, Woods was in the water off the tee at 17, but saved par after almost holing a wedge from 98 yards out.
Woods’s 36-hole total of 135 is his best on the US tour since he opened with a 135 at the 2013 Deutsche Bank Championship.
He was tied for 26th — four shots off the lead.
On a day marked by morning rain that led to a brief delay, Vegas hit all 18 greens in regulation and birdied to of his last three holes to put himself in contetion for his first win since his rookie season in 2011.
“I feel like I’m playing great,” he said. “I just haven’t been able to put it all together. But I’m staying patient and working really hard to make it happen, and it’s coming together.”
Langley wasn’t surprised he couldn’t match his birdie bonanza of Thursday.
“Following up a round of 62 is never super easy,” he said. “I left a lot of putts within 6 inches of the hole, just right in the heart. I need to be a little more assertive on the greens.” – Agence France-Presse