PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. - Sergio Garcia made seven straight putts - six of them for birdie - on his way to a 7-under 65 to match his best score at The Players Championship.
That gave him a 1-shot lead over Tiger Woods, who again made short work of the par 5s and posted his second straight 67. Woods broke his own 36-hole record at TPC Sawgrass by 6 shots and can't find much wrong with his game at the moment.
Garcia ran off five straight birdies, ending the streak with putts from 20 feet and 25 feet, and then he added a 40-foot birdie putt on the par-3 eighth. Garcia, who won The Players in 2008, was at 11-under 133.
But with the tournament only halfway over, this is far more than a duel between Woods and Garcia.
The 18 players within 5 shots of the lead include three current major champions - Adam Scott, Webb Simpson, and Rory McIlroy - along with Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson, Steve Stricker, Hunter Mahan, and Zach Johnson.
Westwood chipped in from 100 feet for eagle on the 11th hole and was atop the leaderboard until making pars on his last eight holes. He had a 66 and was 2 shots behind, along with Kevin Chappell (66) and Stenson, who had two eagles on the front nine in his round of 67.
McIlroy was coming off back-to-back bogeys when he chose to go for the green in 2 at the par-5 ninth. He hit the trees and made his third straight bogey. He rallied on the back for a 72 and was in the group at 6-under 138.
Woods won The Players in 2001, but he has only seriously contended twice, and he has failed to crack the top 20 eight times in 15 appearances.