(CNN) -- World number one Tiger Woods has his first title on Australian soil firmly in his sights after establishing a three-shot lead over the rest of the field at the halfway stage of the JBWere Masters at Kingston Heath in Melbourne.
Woods, who had a share of top spot after an opening six-under 66, produced an unspectacular but effective round of 68 to move to 10-under overall, three clear of Australia's James Nitties and Greg Chalmers and compatriot Jason Dufner, who was the best of the early tee-offs with a 67.
The crowd of 24,007 which turned out to watch the world's top golfer was far from disappointed as Woods produced two birdies to kick things off and then gathered shots at the sixth and 12th.
Woods told reporters he found Friday's round much more difficult than Thursday with the wind picking up in the afternoon and causing him a few troubles.
"I didn't really do anything great, but I made two big par putts at nine and 14 to keep the round going," Woods said.
"To shoot 68 today, I thought that was a pretty good number, considering the conditions. I did have a couple of short birdie putts that I missed, but not to drop a shot today on the card. Those are always days you feel quite good about."
Nitties, who also shot a 66 in the opening round, kept pace with the leader for much of the day with birdies on one, six and 14, but bogeys on 15 and 17 saw him slip three back.
Chalmers picked up four birdies, three on the front nine and one on the back, to maintain touch but also bogeyed the 17th.
A second-round 67 saw Dufner as the early clubhouse leader on seven-under. The 32-year-old did his best work early in his round, racing to the turn in 31 on a front nine that included five birdies.
"All in all, it was a pretty good day, a 67 on this golf course is a pretty good score," said Dufner. "It's fantastic to come all the way over here to play golf and have a chance to win this tournament.
Three players share fifth place on six-under, Ashley Hall, Manny Villegas and Mathew Goggin.