Gainseville, Va. Tiger Woods finally found the secret to winning a better-ball match at the Presidents Cup.
Play with a back so sore that it has to be iced between shots. Play with a partner who has sore ribs. And most of all, make lots of birdies.
Woods birdied seven of his first 12 holes, then relied on Jim Furyk to make the decisive birdie that delivered the world's No. 1 player his first victory Friday in a better-ball match - and one the Americans desperately needed.
The International team, trailing in only one match at the turn, got more standout play from Retief Goosen and Adam Scott to keep its slim lead after two sessions, 61â2-51â2.
It looked like it might be an even larger lead until the Dallas-born duo of Scott Verplank and Justin Leonard rallied to win its match and remain undefeated, and Michael Campbell and Vijay Singh failed to capitalize on opportunities at the 18th hole, both of them settling for halves.
Campbell's wedge to the 18th hit the pin and rolled back into the rough, then his belly wedge rimmed in and out.
Singh, playing with Tim Clark, stuffed a wedge into three feet for birdie on the 17th to square their match, then had a chance to beat Fred Funk and Stewart Cink when he hit a towering shot out of the rough to 15 feet. But the birdie putt never had a chance, dipping well below the cup for a halve.
Still, it set the stage for what should be a pivotal third round today, with five alternate-shot matches in the morning and five better-ball matches in the afternoon.