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golf roundup

Tiger Woods flirts with history

Tiger Woods celebrated with his caddy, Joe LaCava, after finishing his round on Friday.

Phil Long/Associated Press

Tiger Woods celebrated with his caddy, Joe LaCava, after finishing his round on Friday.

Tiger Woods had a shot at making history with a magical 59. He swore he wasn’t disappointed to come up short.

‘‘Disappointed? Absolutely not,’’ he said.

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Then he cracked, ‘‘A 61’s pretty good. I’m not bummed.’’

Like a pitcher having to settle for a shutout instead of a perfect game, Woods could console himself by tying his best round in competition and building a seven-shot lead Friday through 36 holes at the Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio.

Pursuing his eighth victory at Firestone Country Club, Woods opened birdie-eagle — stuffing an approach to 3 feet at the first hole and holing a 20-footer for a 3 at the par-5 second.

Woods had two more birdies on the front nine, and had four in a row to start the back nine in a light rain.

Needing to go only 2 under over his last five holes, he missed birdie putts inside 10 feet at 15 and 17. He saved par on the last with a 25-footer after an errant drive and a shot that hit into the trees and ended up in a bare spot short and right of the green.

‘‘I’m very happy I was able to post that,’’ he said. “I just kept thinking, whatever lead I had, ‘Let’s just keep increasing it.’ It’s at seven now, I believe. So that’s not too bad after two days.’’

The 61 — matching his career best at the 1999 Byron Nelson, 2005 Buick Open, and on the same Firestone course back in 2000 — left him at 13-under-par 127. The average score Friday was 71.192.

Defending champion Keegan Bradley and Chris Wood, playing the tournament for the first time, were tied for second. They each shot 68.

Woods needed only 22 putts, eight fewer than he had Thursday in an opening 66. He hit 10 of 14 fairways and was on in regulation on 16 of 18 greens.

The next best score on a threatening day with a slate-gray sky and precipitation was a 66.

It seemed every fan on the course took notice as Woods started stacking up birdies. The magic number 59 — shot five times on the PGA Tour — dominated conversations.

‘‘Oh, they were excited,’’ Woods said. ‘‘You could hear it more than feel it. You definitely could hear it. They were into it.’’

Inbee Park, aiming for her fourth consecutive major victory, was tied for 22d at the Women’s British Open.

Scott Heppell/Associated Press

Inbee Park, aiming for her fourth consecutive major victory, was tied for 22d at the Women’s British Open.

LPGA — Na Yeon Choi turned in a command performance at the Women’s British Open in St. Andrews, Scotland, making six birdies for a 5-under 67 that gave her a one-shot lead over Miki Saiki going into the weekend.

Saiki set the Old Course record for the tournament with a 66 in the morning.

Inbee Park, trying to make history as the first golfer to win four professional majors in the same calendar year, trailed by eight shots.

“I'm so far back,’’ Park said after a birdie on the final hole to salvage a 1-over 73. ‘‘We need some tough conditions.’’

PGA Andres Romero birdied his last four holes to take the second-round lead in the Reno-Tahoe Open with 22 points in the modified Stableford scoring format, a point ahead of Gary Woodland.

Junior PGA — Amy Lee, a 16-year-old from Brea, Calif., overcame a three-stroke deficit with three holes to play, closing with a dramatic 15-foot par putt, to top the girls’ division in Potomac Falls, Va. Abbey Carlson of Lake Mary, Fla., finished a stroke back at 280, and 15-year-old Megan Khang of Rockland, Mass., and Kristen Gillman of Austin, Texas, tied for third at 281.

Tyler McDaniel, a 17-year-old from Manchester, Ky., birdied the final two holes to win the boys’ division.

Champions — Mark Wiebe, who arrived late Wednesday, followed his Senior British Open playoff victory with an 8-under 64 in the 3M Championship to take a one-stroke lead over Kenny Perry and Corey Pavin in Blaine, Minn.

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