Tiger birdies last 2 holes, leads Zozo by 2 shots

CHIBA, Japan — For one of the rare times, Tiger Woods got to do his work in relative peace Saturday, traversing the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club course with but a smattering of spectators watching, virtually no reaction to anything he accomplished.

It was a shame, really, because the place would have been rocking had spectators been allowed in as Woods again offered plenty of highlights at the deserted Zozo Championship, where he took the 36-hole lead at the weather-plagued event.

He might have saved the best for last as he stuck and iron shot close for an easy birdie at the 17th and then hit a laser 5-wood to the par-5 18th, setting up a two-putt birdie for his second 64 of the tournament. He shot a second straight 6-under 64 and finished two strokes ahead of U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland and three ahead of Keegan Bradley and Hideki Matsuyama.

A victory at the first PGA Tour event played in Japan would be the 82nd of Woods’ career and tie him for the all-time lead with Sam Snead.

The Chiba area had more than six inches of rain Friday, causing massive flooding, rendering the golf course unplayable and pushing tee times back twice Saturday before players could begin the second round.

Although Woods birdied his first hole of the day by stuffing an iron shot to 3 feet, he was not as sharp with his iron play as he was Friday when he made nine birdies to overcome three straight bogeys to open his round.

This time, he had seven birdies and a single bogey to finish at 128, 12 under par. Woodland shot 66 to finish two strokes back, with Bradley (63) and Matsuyama (67) three shots back.

The third round is scheduled to begin at 6:30 a.m. local time Sunday (5:30 p.m. ET Saturday) with Woods in the last group at 8:30 a.m. (7:30 p.m. ET). The players will not be regrouped after the round and will continue into the fourth round, playing until darkness.

The tournament will then conclude on Monday morning.

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