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Donald avoids exit as Tiger leads US PGA

ESPN staff
August 10, 2012 « London Olympics 2012 LIVE! | Chartbeat test »

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Tiger Woods made significant strides toward his 15th major title on Friday, claiming a share of the lead after the US PGA Championship second round.

Woods, who shot one-under 71, could also reclaim the world No. 1 ranking if he continues his form over the weekend, as he battled through blustery conditions on Kiawah Island. Indeed, the American could have taken an outright lead into Saturday but for a three-putt bogey on the 18th,

Another bogey on the par-three eighth hole was the only other blemish on Woods' scorecard. Birdies on the second, fourth and 12th, though, provided the four-time US PGA Championship winner the opportunity to share the overnight lead wih Vijay Singh and Carl Pettersson on four-under.

Singh drained five birdies en route to a three-under 69. Playing in tough conditions, as a strong wind blew across the course, the three-time major winner played with supreme control, only two bogeys staining an otherwise faultless card.

Pettersson, meanwhile, was left to rue five birdies in six holes midway through his round before rescuing a birdie on the 16th to remain in contention.

England's Ian Poulter is a further stroke back after carding a 71, but he too fell victim to the wild weather as he bogeyed the 18th to drop off the pace set by the three leaders.

Rory McIlroy is also in contention at two-under, despite carding a three-over 75 on day two. Shooting four bogeys and no birdies in the first 12 holes, McIlroy recovered to birdie the 14th and 16th to end the day two strokes off the lead alongside Jamie Donaldson of Wales.

Luke Donald narrowly made the cut after battling to a four-over 76 on day two, but remains in danger of being usurped as world No. 1.

Donald struggled to tame the 7,676-yard Ocean Course - the longest in major championship history - on Thursday and his problems continued in a second round plagued by uncharacteristic errors.

Looking to get off to a fast start, Donald began in terrible fashion, double bogeying the 10th to put himself under immediate pressure. Five straight pars helped settle him down, before a birdie at 16 kept his faint hopes of landing a maiden major alive. The problem was he needed to score consistently, to pick up birdies with some regularity, and the more he forced it, the more errors he made.

He reached the turn in 37 strokes but more woe was to follow. After trading a bogey with a birdie he looked to have found some rhythm when reeling off four consecutive pars, however, a difficult day was compounded further as three bogeys on his final three holes left him stranded on six-over for the week.

Adam Scott, who narrowly missed out on glory at last month's Open Championship, was a shadow of the man who played so well for the majority of the week at Royal Lytham & St Annes, his game imploding on the way to a 75. An opening 68 at Kiawah Island was only a distant memory as the Australian failed to adapt to the difficult conditions, six dropped shots seeing him fall to one-under.

Phil Mickelson and Graeme McDowell were among those who suffered in the trying conditions, the former posting a 71 to move to level-par and the latter tumbling down the standings to the same score after a horrible 76 undid the good work he produced on Thursday.

Padraig Harrington has a mountain to climb following an ugly 76, the Irishman only converting one birdie chance all day to end his 18 holes on two-over for the tournament.

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