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'Incredible' Tiger Woods proves a class apart in California

updated 10:44 AM EST, Sat December 7, 2013
Tiger Woods hits another accurate tee shot on the way to a course record equaling 62 in California.
Tiger Woods hits another accurate tee shot on the way to a course record equaling 62 in California.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tiger Woods takes lead in World Golf Challenge in California
  • Shoots course record equaling 62 at Sherwood Country Club
  • Zach Johnson two shots behind after a 68
  • Defending champion Graeme McDowell moves up with a 67

(CNN) -- Tiger Woods produced "incredible golf" to equal his own course record of 62 at Sherwood Country Club and take the halfway lead at the PGA Tour-sanctioned World Golf Challenge in California.

With ten birdies and no dropped shots, Woods justified his ranking as the top ranked player in the world and had other players expressing their admiration for his efforts.

Defending champion and playing partner Graeme McDowell shot a five-under 67 to keep his hopes alive but realized he had been very much second best on the day.

"It was cool to see that kind of golf," he told the official PGA Tour website.

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"He was under control. He hit it down the middle of every fairway. He didn't have that kind of violence with his speed through the ball."

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Matt Kuchar, in third place three shots adrift of Woods, was even more gushing.

"Amazing what Tiger did out there. It's just some incredible golf," Kuchar said.

"I kind of felt sorry for Graeme McDowell. I saw he posted a five-under-par round, and it must have felt like it was two or three over.

"It's tough when you're paired with a guy like that. It makes you feel like you're not doing much. But the rest of us just go about our business."

As for tournament host Woods, who is on 11-under 132 after halfway, his verdict was more restrained.

"It was good today," he said.

"I only made probably two putts that were downhill. I hit a lot of good shots, leaving myself in these spots so my putts weren't really that difficult to make."

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First round leader Zach Johnson was the nearest challenger on nine-under after a 68. "Four-under is a nice score. Amazing what Tiger did out there. It's just some incredible golf," he said, repeating Kuchar's plaudit.

But others did not find it so easy and former world number one Rory McIlroy, who captured his first win of 2013 just last week at the Australian Open, slipped to a five-over 77 after a quadruple-bogey nine at the par-five 16th.

He was tied 16th in the elite 18-man field.

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