(Reuters) – Jim Furyk turned back the clock, shooting his best-ever score at TPC Sawgrass to grab the clubhouse lead in the second round at the Players Championship in Florida on Friday.
Furyk took advantage of benign morning conditions, reeling off an eight-birdie eight-under-par 64 at the flagship event on the PGA Tour in Ponte Vedra Beach.
It was his lowest score in 80 rounds at the tournament.
He signed for a nine-under 135 halfway total, one stroke better than Australian Jason Day (66) and American Kevin Kisner (68) among the early finishers.
American Keegan Bradley, who shared the overnight lead with Englishman Tommy Fleetwood, fell back with a 73 that left him three shots behind Furyk.
Fleetwood had a late tee time.
Tiger Woods put two balls into the water at the island-green par-three 16th and made a quadruple bogey, the only blemish on his card in a five-birdie 71.
He was six strokes behind Furyk.
“I got in this field late,” said 48-year-old Furyk, who only got to play when several players above him in the pecking order withdrew.
“I was the last guy in the field so it was a nice opportunity for me, one I did not expect.
“Last week I treated it like I was in the field and prepared and got ready.
“It was definitely a sigh of relief Sunday night finding out I was in.”
Furyk, who lives locally, has won 17 times on the PGA Tour, including the 2003 U.S. Open.
Yet he did not get an automatic exemption into the Players because he finished outside the top 125 on last year’s PGA Tour points list.
He has never won the Players, though he was second in 2014.
Day, the 2016 champion, used his power to pick off birdies at three of the four par-fives.
“I played par-fives pretty well over the last few days,” said the former world number one.
“Irons shots were a lot better today than yesterday, gave myself a lot more opportunities. Pretty pleased to get away with six under.”
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Toby Davis)