SHANGHAI, China – Tiger Woods only needed a day to return to form after a five-week layoff.

Woods had an eagle and seven birdies in a course record-tying 8-under 64 Friday to move within two shots of the lead at the HSBC Champions tournament. After an opening-day 72, Woods closed within two shots of India’s Jyoti Randhawa and one of Retief Goosen after starting the second round seven shots back. Randhawa, the overnight leader, mixed six birdies with three bogeys for 69 and a two-round total of 10-under 134. Goosen birdied three of his first four holes and finished with three straight for a 67.

Woods was tied for third with 2005 U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell, who had a 70, and one ahead of Marc Warren of Scotland, Chawalit Plaphol of Thailand and European No. 1 Padraig Harrington.

Sweden’s Henrik Stenson had eight birdies in a bogey-free round to set the record for the Sheshan International Golf Club at 64 earlier Friday.

He was tied for 17th at 4-under.

Woods shook off the rust of his first round and said his form was approaching what it had been at the WGC-American Express Championship, where he won by eight strokes on Oct. 1 for his sixth straight PGA Tour victory

“It’s close to what I was at Amex (where) I had it dialed in pretty good,” Woods said. “That was probably my best ball-striking week all year.”

Woods said he was too “one-dimensional” Thursday – his first competitive round since Oct. 1 – but “felt like I was in control of the ball all day” Friday.

“Hopefully I can do it again on the weekend and hopefully make some birdies, because that’s what you’re going to have to do to win this tournament.”

Inkster, Dunn share second-round lead

MOBILE, Ala. – Hall of Famer Juli Inkster birdied two of her last three holes for a 3-under 69 and a share of the second-round lead Friday with Moira Dunn in the LPGA Tournament of Champions.

The 46-year-old Inkster, playing in just her fourth tournament since her children started school in August, made a 25-foot birdie putt on the 17th and closed with a par to match Dunn (67) at 8-under 136 on Magnolia Grove’s Crossings Course.

Kuchar notches 65, tied for Nationwide lead

RICHMOND, Texas – PGA Tour winner Matt Kuchar shot a 7-under 65 on Friday for a share of the second-round lead in the Nationwide Tour Championship.

Kuchar joined Cliff Kresge (69), Andrew Buckle (69), Chris Baryla (67 ) and Brandt Snedecker (68) at 8-under 136 on The Houstonian course

Craig Kanada (64), Johnson Wagner (67) and Jim O’Neal (68) were a shot back.

Kanada’s 8-under round was the second-best in tournament history, behind only Jay Delsing’s in 2002.

The winner will earn $135,000, while the season money champion will be fully exempt on the 2007 PGA Tour and earn a spot in The Players Championship. Nos. 2-22 on the final money list will be conditionally exempt on the PGA Tour and Nos. 23-37 will get spots in the final stage of Q-school.

Kuchar, 12th on the money list with $234,867, had a much better start in the second round after a double bogey to start the first round. He had birdie putts of 10, 8 and 12 feet on the first three holes Friday and eagled the par-5 16th for the second day.

Kanada sat up Thursday night watching the Louisville-Rutgers football game and then had trouble going to sleep. The sleep loss didn’t keep him from making four straight birdies on the back nine.

Kanada started fast with scrambling birdies on two of the first three holes. He almost went in the water on the par-5 second but a sand wedge put him 10 feet from the hole and he made the putt for his first birdie. He hit another sand wedge to 12 feet on the third hole for another birdie.

His birdie run started on No. 14 when Kanada chipped to 3 feet. He hit 6-irons in close on the next three holes and dropped those too for birdies. He snap-hooked his tee shot on the final hole but hit a wedge to 5 feet and saved par.

Baryla and Kresge missed chances to take the lead late in the round. Baryla dropped to 8 under for the tournament with a bogey on No. 17 and Kresge made his first bogey of the day on the final hole.

Ken Duke tops the money list with $369,318, followed by Johnson Wagner ($356,319), Craig Bowden ($327,171), Kresge ($321,013) and Jeff Quinney ($311,952).

Duke (71) was 3 under, Bowden (68) 5 under, and Quinney (68) 3 under.

Buckle entered the week 18th at $211,976, followed by Doug LaBelle II ($210,174), John Merrick ($205,731), Bryce Molder ($202,957), No. 22 Jess Daley ($190,982) and current PGA Tour outsiders Brenden Pappas ($189,770), Paul Gow ($179,593).

LaBelle (70) was 4 under, Merrick (71) 1 over, Molder (74) 1 over, Daley (73) 4 over, Pappas (70) 5 under, and Gow (71) 2 over.

AP-ES-11-10-06 1738EST



Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.