ATLANTA, Sep 14 (Reuters) Tiger Woods surged into a familiar position at the top of the leaderboard in the Tour Championship today, despite failing to stretch his advantage over the last nine holes.
The world number one scorched the front nine in a blistering seven-under-par 28 before offsetting two birdies with two bogeys after the turn at a wet East Lake Golf Club.
''I saw I was three (ahead) and on the back nine I wanted to just try and get to four or five,'' Woods told reporters after shooting a seven-under 63.
''I felt if I made two or three birdies on the back nine, I'd get it to that number. I made the two birdies but I also made the two bogeys.'' Although the American did not produce his desired late surge at East Lake, history and form suggest he will be difficult to catch in the final event of the inaugural FedExCup playoff series.
Chasing his seventh title this season, Woods is close to his best and has won 29 times out of 35 when holding at least a share of the 36-hole lead on the PGA Tour.
Victory here would also earn him the 10 million dollars bonus as the first FedExCup champion but he refuses to be distracted from his primary goal.
''You just want to win the tournament,'' the FedExCup points leader said after a round featuring five birdies and an eagle in a stunning six-hole burst. ''Winning always takes care of everything.
GOOD SHAPE ''The whole idea of this week is to go out there and get it done. At the halfway point I'm in good shape for that.'' Although Woods has always preferred playing difficult courses where pars are at a premium, he accepts he will have to continue feasting on birdies in the soft, receptive conditions at East Lake.
''That's the nature of this tournament, which is so different than most (PGA) Tour championships,'' the 31-year-old said.
''You've got to be aggressive, you've got to make birdies and, if you don't, you're going to get passed.'' Woods, who holds a three-shot lead over second-placed American Woody Austin going into Saturday's third round, relished his stunning six-hole stretch from the par-four fourth.
''I don't know if it was a zone or not. I just felt the rhythm was good, the pace was good, walking pace was good, the swing was good,'' he said.
''I hit one bad putt that went in and I made a bomb there at nine.'' His seven-under run included a hole-out from a greenside bunker at the fifth and a 70-foot eagle putt at the par-five ninth.
Reuters SZ VP0310