Golf is starting to feel easy again for Rory McIlroy, who bounced back from a sloppy start on Friday in the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., for a 4-under 66 that gave him his first 36-hole lead on the PGA Tour in 18 months.
Tiger Woods, on the other hand, is making it look hard.
McIlroy recovered from two early bogeys by running off six birdies in a 10-hole stretch. He looked solid from tee to green, hit putts with confidence, and wound up with a one-shot lead over Brendon de Jonge.
Russell Henley had a 68 and was three shots behind. Russell Knox had the low round at 63 and was four shots back along with Lee Westwood (65).
‘‘I knew that with the way I'm playing and the confidence in my ability, I would be able to get those shots back,’’ said McIlroy, who is at 11-under 129. ‘‘I didn’t panic. I didn’t try to do anything different. Just tried to keep playing the way I was.’’
Woods felt fortunate to still be playing. He was over the cut line after scrambling for a bogey on the 11th hole and wound up with a 69 to make the cut on the number. Woods hit only two greens over his last nine holes. His lone birdie on the back nine was a chip-in on the 13th after he missed the green with a wedge.
LPGA — For all the talk of the youth movement in women’s golf, Karrie Webb showed that experienced players can still show up their younger competitors from time to time.
The 39-year-old Webb recovered from two bogeys on the back nine to card a 3-under 69 and open a two-stroke lead over Angela Stanford after the second round of the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore.
Webb is at 9-under 135 overall. Stanford, the 2012 HSBC champion, also shot a 69.
European — Ross Fisher stormed home with an eagle-birdie-birdie-par finish to grab a one-shot lead in the Tshwane Open after the second round.
Fisher made five birdies and eagled the par-5 15th at Copperleaf in Centurion, South Africa, for a 7-under 65. He’s 13 under, one stroke ahead of Morten Orum Madsen, who had seven birdies in his own 65.