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Woods slips one stroke behind

TIGER Woods struggled over the difficult final stretch to slip one stroke from the lead after the second round at the US$6.4 million Quail Hollow Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Friday.

Woods was far from his best for most of the round, and it finally caught up with him as he bogeyed the par-four 16th and 18th holes on a breezy afternoon, yet still posted an even-par 72 to finish the second round in a four-way tie for third.

Woods is one stroke behind long-hitting American Bubba Watson, who stormed home in 30 strokes, and South Africa's Retief Goosen on eight-under 136.

"I didn't hit it very well," said Woods, who is tied with fellow Americans Zach Johnson (67), Jim Furyk (66) and George McNeill (68) on seven-under 137. "I didn't drive the ball particularly well, didn't hit my irons as well as I'd like.

"I was hanging in there and if I could have posted nine (under) I would have probably gotten the most out of that round.

"It just didn't work out that way but overall it's not that bad, considering the way I was hitting the ball."

Watson was not even assured of making the cut at the turn, before he ran four birdies and an eagle on the front nine, his inward half, to shoot 65, the day's best score.

Stay focused

"My caddie kicked me in the butt a few times and kept telling me to stay focused, because I wanted to pout a few times," Watson said. "I'm trying every day to be the best golfer that ever walked this planet but once I putt out on the last putt I'm the happiest guy in the world."

Goosen (68) credited his share of the lead to good putting. "I'm putting very well, making a lot of good up-and-downs, and I made a few good long putts for birdies as well today."

Johnson, the 2007 Masters champion, caught fire mid-round, running up seven birdies in eight holes to open a handy lead, but he then bogeyed his final three holes.

The cut fell at even-par 144 with Masters champion Angel Cabrera and Padraig Harrington both missing out.


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