Tiger Woods finds form to take charge of Australian Open
Australian Open 2011, Sydney
- -9: Tiger Woods (USA)
- -8: Peter O'Malley (Aus)
- -7: Jason Day (Aus)
- -6: Bubba Watson (USA)
- Selected others: -4: Adam Scott (Aus)
Tiger Woods returned to form to hit a five-under-par 67 and establish the lead in the Australian Open.
The former world number one carded seven birdies and two bogeys to move to nine under in total on day two.
"It feels good to actually be there playing properly instead of slashing the ball all over the place," said Woods, who leads Australia's Peter O'Malley by one shot.
"I felt like I really didn't miss a shot."
“Even though I shot five under, it felt like it easily could have been eight or nine deep”
Woods, who started the day three shots behind overnight leader Jarrod Lyle, will have to maintain his form if he is to stay ahead of the chasing pack.
Local veteran O'Malley, 46, is one shot behind after carding a six-under-par 66, the lowest score of the day, with Australia's world number seven Jason Day a further shot back in third on seven under after a 68.
But all eyes will be on Woods to see if the 14-times major winner can maintain his lead.
Woods, who has dropped to 58th in the world, led the field during the final round of this year's US Masters.
But the last time he led at the end of a day's play was at his own Chevron World Challenge in December 2010 , when he surrendered a three-shot lead on the final day.
"At Chevron I hit it with one shot," added Woods. "I hit basically a draw for the entire week. Right now I am able to move the ball both ways."
Starting at the 10th hole with a birdie, Woods picked up four more shots on the back nine before making his first bogey of the tournament at the third hole.
He responded immediately with a 25-foot putt at the fourth before dropping a shot at the sixth. But Woods picked up another shot with a stunning 280-yard approach which rolled onto the eighth green to set up a birdie.
DID YOU KNOW?
Tiger Woods has not won a tournament since 2009 and has fallen out of the top 50 for the first time since he was a 20-year-old rookie in 1996
"I played well today," said Woods. "I could have been a little lower over my first nine holes. Even though I shot five under, it felt like it easily could have been eight or nine deep."
Day will celebrate his 24th birthday on Saturday looking to overhaul his idol Woods.
"He changed my life because I worked harder after I read his book. It is good to see him playing good golf again," said Day.
Overnight leader Lyle shot a 74 to drop to a tie for fifth on five under with four other players.