Tiger Woods takes lead in Japan as he targets PGA Tour record

Tiger Woods holds a two-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Zozo Championship as he targets a record-equalling 82nd PGA Tour title.

The 15-time major winner birdied the last two holes to record a six-under-par 64 in the second round in Japan to take the outright lead ahead of fellow American Gary Woodland, the current US Open champion.

Victory in the tournament, which will finish on Monday after Friday’s play was washed out at the Narashino Country Club, will see Woods match Sam Snead’s PGA record.

A second successive 64 pushed the 43-year-old to 12 under par and he will be encouraged by statistics which show he has turned 38 of 49 halfway leads into victories.

Woods, who is playing his first tournament of the season following a nine-week lay-off for knee surgery, was forced to cope with an eerie silence around the course. Spectators were kept away due to safety concerns after almost 10-inches of rain saturated the area on Friday.

As if on auto pilot, he still waved after his seven birdies and provided a little showmanship when walking in some putts.

The grandstands were empty on Saturday
The grandstands were empty on Saturday (Lee Jin-man/AP)

“I’m surprised that I was able to score as well as I have. Usually that takes a little bit of time,” Woods told the PGA tour website.

“But this golf course is a little bit on the softer side. I’ve been able to strike my irons pretty well this week so far and that’s been nice.

“I left a lot of my approach shots below the hole and I was able to be pretty aggressive, and the greens are a little bit slower than they were yesterday.

“I had a good feel on the putting green, which was nice. Hit a lot of putts from below the hole and making sure that I put a lot of right hand into it and released it and it felt good all day.”

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