Garcia leads Players from confident Woods

Sergio Garcia shot a seven-under 65 to charge to the top of the leaderboard at the Players Championship.

Story highlights

  • Sergio Garcia leads at halfway in Players Championship
  • Garcia shoots seven-under-par 65 for 11-under 133
  • Tiger Woods a shot back after second straight 67 at Sawgrass
  • Rory McIlroy slips off the pace in second round with level par 72

Sergio Garcia posted five straight birdies on the way to a seven-under 65 Friday and the halfway lead at the Players Championship in Florida -- but World No.1 Tiger Woods is just a shot behind.

Spain's Garcia has an outstanding record on the TPC at Sawgrass, winning in 2008, and making 10 successive cuts.

His birdie blitz from holes two to six saw him reach the turn in 31 and he held his composure on the back nine to go into the clubhouse on 11-under 133.

"Wonderful day today," Garcia told the official PGA Tour website.

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"Yesterday I scored very well; I didn't play that great. But today I played much nicer."

Woods also professed his satisfaction with his game after a second straight 67, which included an eagle on his 11th hole of the day, the second.

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"I'm pleased with every facet of it," he said. "I feel like I'm driving it well, hitting it well with my irons, my distance control is good, short game is really solid, and I'm making my share of putts."

Woods is seeking his first win at the "fifth major" since 2001 and to consolidate his position at the top of the rankings.

His closest chaser, Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, looked set to build on his opening 66, but could not capitalize on a promising start and finished with a level-par 72 to be five back going into the weekend.

Fellow Ryder Cup star Lee Westwood was well placed after a 66 for nine-under 134, sharing third spot with Swede Henrik Stenson and Kevin Chappell.

Westwood has yet to drop a shot to par after 36 holes with his usual consistent play backed up by fine putting.

Masters champion Adam Scott improved with a four-under 68 to be in a tie for ninth, but first round leader Roberto Castro followed his opening 63 with a 78 to slip down the field.