Swede David Lingmerth birdied three of his last five holes to take the clubhouse lead in the second round while tournament host Tiger Woods also charged into contention at the Quicken Loans National in Virginia on Friday.
Lingmerth, who won his first PGA Tour title in a playoff for the Memorial Tournament last month, fired a sizzling six-under-par 65 on another hot, sunny day at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville.
The 28-year-old from Tranas signed off by sinking a 20-foot birdie putt at the par-three ninth to post a nine-under total of 133, one stroke ahead of Woods (66) and five other players.
Woods, who has struggled on the PGA Tour this season while working through his latest swing change as he recovers from back surgery, mixed six birdies with a lone bogey to rocket up the leaderboard.
“I hit the ball really well today, but I missed a few putts,” Woods told reporters after posting his lowest opening 36-hole total on the U.S. circuit since the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. “This could have been a really low one.”
Now ranked a lowly 266th in the world, Woods said he was given extra motivation on Friday after a popped up tee shot at the 14th, his fifth hole of the day, led to his only bogey of the round.
“It got me a little fired up,” smiled Woods, who finished level with fellow Americans Pat Perez (67), Charles Howell III (67) and Jimmy Walker (63), Englishman Greg Owen (68) and South Korean Kim Meen-whee (66).
“Got me a little more focussed on what I’m doing out there instead of just hitting a shot.”
Lingmerth, whose uncle, Goran Lingmerth, played for the National Football League’s Cleveland Browns, was delighted to take over at the top of the leaderboard after getting some putts to drop.
“I don’t think I’ve done anything really special,” the Swede told PGA Tour Radio. “I’ve just kind of been staying in the game, pretty straight off the tee and gotten got some good looks.
“And finally today I got some putts to go in too. So nine under after two (rounds), I am happy with where I am sitting for the weekend.”
Veteran South African Retief Goosen and 23-year-old Japanese Ryo Ishikawa, who set the first-round pace with 63s, were among the day’s later starters.
The cut was projected to fall at one-under 141.
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue)