(CNN) -- Tiger Woods sizzled at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. With the season's final major a week away, his timing is good.
Woods equaled his career-best round on the PGA Tour and matched his own course record in Ohio by shooting a 61, hitting an eagle, seven birdies and not dropping a shot.
He also shot a nine-under-par 61 in the second round of the tournament in 2000 -- the year he outclassed his rivals and claimed three majors.
But Woods hasn't won a major in five years now, stuck on 14, and struggled on the final day of the British Open last month when he was in contention.
The Bridgestone Invitational was the world No. 1's first tournament since Muirfield, and he began with an impressive 66.
He bettered that on Friday at a tournament he has captured seven times, beginning with a birdie, eagle and birdie to set the tone. Woods shot the first nine in 30.
"I just let the round build from there," Woods said in a television interview aired by Sky Sports. "I made a couple of key putts for pars. Things like that happen today."
The back nine started just as well, with Woods registering four straight birdies. He was nine under through 13 holes.
With a sub 60 round in his sights, though, Woods shot at par the rest of the way, narrowly missing a birdie on the 17th but then avoiding a bogey on the 18th with a stunning putt.
He leads defending champion Keegan Bradley and England's Chris Wood by seven shots.
"It put me in a nice position going into the weekend," said Woods.
The last time Woods shot a 61 at any tournament was at the 2005 Buick Open.
Before looking ahead to the PGA Championship, Woods was focusing on finishing the job at the Bridgestone Invitational.
Thunderstorms are expected Saturday.
"We got a long way to go," said Woods. "The golf course will be certainly a lot different than it is now with the weather coming in so we're going to have to make a few adjustments and see how it goes."
British Open winner Phil Mickelson was tied for 43rd. The slumping Rory McIlroy was tied for 25th alongside U.S. Open winner Justin Rose, 14 shots behind Woods.
Park eight shots behind at St. Andrews
At the women's British Open at St. Andrews in Scotland, meanwhile, Inbee Park has work to do if she wants to become the first golfer in 83 years to claim four majors in a single season.
Through two rounds on the Old Course, Park trails fellow South Korean Na Yeon Choi by eight shots after registering a 1-over-par 73 in blustery conditions.
She is tied for 22nd.
"A little bit of everything wasn't really working well out there today," Park told reporters. "I think I grinded (it out) really well out there.
"I was a bit unlucky with the draw, getting afternoon today, not playing in the morning when it's lovely."
Choi, last year's U.S. Open winner, leads Japan's Miki Saiki by a shot, with overnight leader Morgan Pressel of the U.S. a further shot behind.