Thomastown, Ireland Playing some of his best golf in the worst conditions, Ernie Els shot an 8-under 64 Friday, giving him a two-shot lead at the American Express Championships.
Els was at 11-under 133, and right behind him was a familiar foe. British Open champion Todd Hamilton, who went head-to-head with Els on the final 40 holes at Royal Troon before beating him in a playoff, had one of only two bogey-free rounds at Mount Juliet for a 69 and was at 9-under 135 with Miguel Angel Jimenez (68).
"I've seen everything except snow today," Hamilton said of weather that included 20 mph wind gusts.
Tiger Woods, who struggled because of a back injury, took 19 putts over his final nine holes and shot 70, leaving him five shots behind.
Jimenez made a 25-foot birdie on the 16th, a 50-foot eagle on the next hole and finished with a shot equally impressive -- a chip from deep rough on the side of a mound to a tight pin. The ball nearly went in, and the Spaniard tapped in for par.