TIGER Woods was moving ominously into position on a day of high scores in the USPGA Championship at windy Kiawah Island yesterday.
Seeking a record-equalling fifth victory in the event and 15th major -- it is now more than four years since he added to his haul -- Woods went to the turn in a one under par 35 and added a birdie at the 12th.
He had birdies at the second and fourth and single-putted the first five greens, but he could not get up and down at the short eighth and slipped back to four under but picked up another shot on the par four 12th.
Overnight pacesetter Carl Pettersson hit back from bogeys on the 10th and 12th with a seven-foot birdie at the long 16th, his seventh hole of the day and another on the 1st to lie on six under after 11.
The Swede was six under as a result, one ahead of Woods and two ahead of Fiji's Vijay Singh, who at 49 is trying to become the oldest major winner in history.
Singh was the only one of 78 players in the morning to break 70, his 69 lifting him 28 places through the field.
Nobody over 48 has ever won a major, but three years after Tom Watson nearly did it at 59, and Singh has given himself a chance to rewrite the record books.
The Fijian posted a four-under-par halfway total of 140.
Singh won the last of his 34 PGA Tour titles four years ago, but said after his 69: "I just started believing that I can do it.
"I was so negative for a long, long time -- I had great sessions on the range and just couldn't take it on the course.
"I made a little tweak to my swing during the British Open and my head is in a better spot. I'm more focused.
"It was one of the tougher conditions I've ever played."
Rory McIlroy was struggling in the blustery conditions and couldn't match his scoring on the first day.
McIlroy slipped from joint second into a tie for eight on two under following bogeys at the fifth, seventh, 10th and 13th and birdie on 14, with four holes of his round to play.
Just two more -- Phil Mickelson and Ulster's Michael Hoey -- broke the par of 72, Mickelson improving to level par with a 71 and Hoey's 70 taking him from six over to four over.
Compatriots Pádraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell wished they could have matched Hoey's effort after 76s.
Earlier, Welshman Jamie Donaldson shot 73 -- 20 strokes better than one of his playing partners, American club professional Doug Wade -- to be on two under. "Just a brutal test of golf," he said.
Winner of the Irish Open last month on the links of Royal Portrush -- his first European Tour victory in 255 starts -- Donaldson was prospering at another seaside venue and in more tough weather.
Paul Lawrie, close to securing a Ryder Cup return after 13 years, shot 75 for four over, but Simon Dyson crashed to an 80 and bowed out on nine over.
Darren Clarke stood one under after eight, but had slipped to three over by his 15th.