Tiger Woods drove the green on two par-4s. His 7-under 66 was eight shots better than the average score today. He wound up with a four-shot lead halfway home to his fifth consecutive PGA Tour victory.
After watching yet another remarkable display by the No. 1 player in the world, Ernie Els had only one explanation after the second round of the Mercedes Championship.
"The guy is kind of a freak, you know what I mean?" Els said, an exasperation felt by the other 28 winners from last season gathered in Maui for what is shaping up to be another runaway victory by Woods.
"I'm going to try to win this tournament," Els said. "It's going to take a lot. You never know, Tiger might make mistakes. Hopefully, he's human."
Even that might be in question right now.
Not since Ben Hogan in 1953 has anyone fired off five straight victories, and it took Hogan-like control on another blustery day in Maui for Woods to take such a commanding lead through 36 holes.
"I kept the ball low," Woods said. "I just tried to get the ball on the green and make some putts."
With birdies on five of the last seven holes, Woods finished two rounds on the wind-ravaged Plantation course at 9-under 137 and a four-stroke lead over Els.
Els had a 3-under 70 and was at 141. Jesper Parnevik made another double bogey on No. 12 and finished with a 74, five shots behind Woods. Jeff Sluman had a 72 and was another stroke behind.
Woods seized control on the tournament with a tee shot that bounded onto the green on the 373-yard 11th hole, just past the left foot of Jim Furyk as he was lining up his putt. Should Woods have warned him?
"I don't think I would have heard him, being 500 yards away," Furyk said with a laugh. "The fans were trying to tell me to watch out, but I didn't know what they were talking about."
Woods's 66 was more than eight shots better than the average score on Friday, and only five other players managed to break par. Woods rode the wind to a couple of phenomenal drives. The first came on the 398-yard sixth hole when his tee shot sailed over a bunker in the middle of the fairway, caught the downslope and stopped 50 feet from the pin.
Defending champion David Duval had two bad swings on the par 5s, both of which led to bogeys, and wound up with a 73 that left him at 145--eight strokes back.
"I'm not surprised," Duval said. "If you're playing well, you can shoot those type of scores any time."
Scores on Page D14