AUGUSTA — Look who's found his way back into contention.
Tiger Woods showed flashes of the player who once owned golf's major championships — every other tournament, too, for that matter — with a 6-under 66 on Friday that leaves him just three strokes behind Rory McIlroy at the Masters. The 66 Friday matched Woods' lowest score of the year, and was his best round at Augusta National since he won in 2005.
Woods made nine birdies, none more impressive than his final one on 18. His drive found the right rough, but Woods landed his approach shot right of the flag, leaving him just 10 feet for the birdie. He rolled the putt in, giving a long, emphatic fist pump as the ball dropped into the cup and the crowd roared.
7:15 EDT: Tiger Woods birdies No. 18 to shoot a 66 in the second round. He is 7 under for the Tournament, three shots off the lead.
6:45 EDT: Tiger Woods birdies Nos. 14 and 15 to move to 6 under and into a three-way tie for fourth with Geoff Ogilvy and Alvaro Quiros.
6:00 EDT: Lee Westwood eagles the par-5 15th to move to 5 under for the round and the Tournament.
5:30 EDT: Jason Day birdies No. 16 to move into a tie for second place at 7 under. He has seven birdies and no bogeys today.
5:00 EDT: Leader Rory McIlroy is at 10-under for the tournament through the 15th hole.
4:30 EDT: Fred Couples is tied for fifth place and is at 5-under for the tournament.
4:04 EDT: Leader Rory McIlroy makes his first bogey of the Tournament on No. 12 to fall to -9. He holds a two-stroke lead over K.J. Choi.
3:55 EDT: Hideki Matsuyama (72-73--145) is in 43rd place, the highest position of any amateur in the field.
3:44 EDT: K.J. Choi drops a stroke to par at No. 18 to finish with a 70. He's 7 under, three back.
3:36 EDT: Geoff Ogilvy closes with a par on No. 18 to complete back-to-back 69s. He's alone in third, four strokes behind the leader Rory McIlroy.
3:30 EDT: 2010 champion Phil Mickelson pars the 18th to finish with a 72. He's 2 under for the Tournament, eight shots off the lead.
3:25 EDT: K.J. Choi bogeys No. 18 to finish the day at 7 under for the Tournament (67-70), three shots behind leader Rory McIlroy.
3:13 EDT: Rory McIlroy is the first to 10 under with a birdie on the par-4 ninth hole. He leads K.J. Choi by two shots.
3:11 EDT: After opening his day with five pars, Matt Kuchar birdies No. 6 to move to 5 under for the Tournament.
2:45 EDT: Geoff Ogilvy birdies No. 15 to move into third place by himself at 6 under, three strokes behind the leader Rory McIlroy.
2:40 EDT: Rickie Fowler birdies Nos. 5, 6 and 7 to move to 5 under. Fowler, playing with McIlroy and Day, has four birdies and one bogey on the day.
2:36 EDT: Fred Couples scrambles for par on No. 18 to complete a 68. He's tied for third at 5 under, four shots behind leader Rory McIlroy.
2:22 EDT: Tiger Woods bogeys the first hole and is now at even, nine strokes off the lead.
2:11 EDT: Y.E. Yang, the first player to reach -8, shoots a 72 on the day and finishes at -5.
14:06 EDT: Rory McIlroy is the first player in the Tournament to reach 9 under with a birdie on No. 5. He leads K.J. Choi by one stroke. 2:04 EDT: Geoff Ogilvy birdies No. 12 and 13 to reach 5 under. Fred Couples bogeys No. 16 to fall to 5 under. 2:01 EDT: Alvaro Quiros takes two strokes to escape the bunker behind the 12th green and then two-putts for a double bogey to fall to -5.
1:57 EDT: K.J. Choi birdies No. 13 to join Rory McIlroy atop the leader board at -8. 1:52 EDT: Fred Couples birdies No. 15 to move into fourth place by himself at 6 under.
1:34 EDT: Ricky Barnes (No. 15) and Y.E. Yang (No. 16) both record bogeys to fall into a tie for fourth with Fred Couples at -5.
Previously reportedAUGUSTA, Ga. -- For all of the talk of golf's new generation, experience still counts at the Masters.
Fred Couples, 51, charged up the board Friday, pushing his score to 5 under and within three strokes of co-leaders K.J. Choi and Rory McIlroy.
On the scene at Augusta, ESPN's Rick Reilly explains what makes the Masters different, talks about the world rankings and says he doesn't think Tiger Woods can win the tournament this year.
Couples won the Masters in 1993 and made a serious run at another green jacket last year. He led after the first round and wound up sixth, seven strokes behind winner Phil Mickelson.
After an opening 71 Thursday, Couples had four birdies over the first 12 holes, strolling around the course in comfortable golf sneakers as if he owned the place. If he can keep it going, he'll again have a shot at becoming the oldest major champion ever.
McIlroy and Alvaro Quiros led after the first round, both at 7-under 65, and the freckle-faced kid from Northern Ireland sliced another shot off his score with a birdie at the second hole.
Quiros also got to 8 under before a bogey at the ninth knocked him back. His first-round score was 10 strokes better than his previous best at the Masters, and he showed no immediate signs of fading even though a stiffening breeze put some teeth in Augusta.
The 40-year-old Choi was on quite a roll. The South Korean, who has never won a major title, birdied five of the last six holes Thursday for a 67, then shot a 3-under 33 on the front side Friday -- meaning he had played a stretch of 15 holes at 8 under.
Choi has established himself as a contender for the weekend as Round 2 of the Masters plays out at Augusta National Golf Club.
Choi has been a contender at Augusta before. In 2004, he finished third. A year ago, he was right in the mix all four days until slipping to a tie for fourth.
Another South Korean, 2009 PGA champion Y.E. Yang, birdied three straight holes early on and briefly snatched the lead by pushing his score to 8 under. Consecutive bogeys at the ninth and 10th stymied his momentum.
The 21-year-old McIlroy is one of golf's rising stars, and he teed off shortly after lunchtime looking to avoid the sort of meltdown that ruined his chances at last year's British Open.
After opening with a 63, he got caught up in the howling winds of St. Andrews and soared to an 80. He fought back to finish third, followed by another third-place showing at the PGA Championship, and helped the Europeans win the Ryder Cup.
Ricky Barnes, who was runner-up at the U.S. Open two years ago, was at 2 under on the day and 6 under for the tournament, just two strokes back in a tie with Yang.
Mickelson continued his up-and-down play but was still in contention at 3 under. He scrambled for a 70 in the first round despite hitting fewer fairways than anyone in the 99-player field.
It was another warm day, the temperature expected to climb into the mid-80s with a chance of afternoon thunderstorms. The forecast called for readings in the low 90s by Sunday.
Four-time champion Tiger Woods was in the next-to-last group, so he should have a good idea of the score he'll need to post to make a serious charge. He opened with a 71.
CURRNET SECOND-ROUND SCORES
137 KJ Choi (South Korea) 67 70 138
Geoff Ogilvy (Australia) 69 69
Alvaro Quiros (Spain) 65 73 139
Yang Yong-eun (South Korea) 67 72,
Ricky Barnes 68 71
Fred Couples 71 68 140
Charl Schwartzel (South Africa) 69 71
Luke Donald (Britain) 72 68
Jim Furyk 72 68 141
Angel Cabrera (Argentina) 71 70
David Toms 72 69 142
Trevor Immelman (South Africa) 69 73
Steve Stricker 72 70
Paul Casey (Britain) 70 72
Phil Mickelson 70 72
Gary Woodland 69 73 143
Charley Hoffman 74 69
Ryan Moore 70 73
Ian Poulter (Britain) 74 69 144
Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spain) 71 73
Bubba Watson 73 71
Edoardo Molinari (Italy) 74 70
Justin Rose (Britain) 73 71 145
Kim Kyung-tae (South Korea) 70 75
Hideki Matsuyama (a) (Japan) 72 73
Steve Marino 74 71 146
Zach Johnson 73 73
Lucas Glover 75 71
Anthony Kim 73 73
Stewart Cink 71 75 147
Stuart Appleby (Australia) 75 72 148
Ben Crane 73 75
DA Points 72 76
Peter Hanson (Sweden) 72 76
Lion Kim (a) 76 72
Jason Bohn 73 75
Yuta Ikeda (Japan) 74 74
Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa) 75 73 Jhonattan Vegas (Venezuela) 72 76 149
Kevin Streelman 75 74
Peter Uihlein (a) 72 77 150
Jose Maria Olazabal (Spain) 73 77 151
Craig Stadler 80 71
Tom Watson 79 72 152
Nathan Smith (a) 75 77
Davis Love III 75 77 155
Ian Woosnam (Britain) 78 77 157
Henrik Stenson (Sweden) 83 74