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While Luke List and Jamie Lovemark top Honda, Tiger Woods four back

For the first time in a long time, Tiger is lurking.

Tiger Woods overcame a brief lapse at the start of the Bear Trap to shoot a 1-over-par 71 to sit four shots off the lead Friday at the midpoint of the Honda Classic at PGA National Resort.

Dave George: Healthy Tiger Woods brings excitement to Honda Classic

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Pairings and tee times for the third round

Relative unknowns Luke List and Jamie Lovemark share the 36-hole lead at 3 under, with plenty of high-profile players in hot pursuit. World No. 16 Tommy Fleetwood and 2012 U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson are among four players one shot back, with reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year Justin Thomas, 2015 Honda runner-up Daniel Berger and 2010 British Open winner Louis Oosthuizenjust two off the pace.

And then there’s Tiger. Five years removed from his last victory and two-and-a-half since his last top-10 finish, Woods offered the huge gallery glimpses of the greatness that has earned him 79 career wins and 14 major championships. Even a double-bogey at No. 15, where his tee shot found the water, and bogey at No. 16 couldn’t quash the vibe being felt all over the course.

“It’s really fun and great for the tournament,” Berger said.

“I’ve said it before,” Thomas said, “I would love nothing more than to come down 18 with him on Sunday and both of us have a chance to win.”

* Photos: All of the action from the first two days at Honda

Photos: Tiger Woods at the 2018 Honda Classic

That, of course, is a long way off. First the 76 players who survived the cut — which at 5 over was just one shot lower than the record of 6 over in 2011 — must continue to negotiate winds predicted to blow once again at 15-22 mph and greens that seem to get quicker every day.

That combination took its toll on some of the game’s best. Among those missing the cut were defending champion Ricky Fowler, FedEx Cup points leader Patton Kizzire, Ian Poulter, Brandt Snedeker and 2015 Honda champ Padraig Harrington.

List and Lovemark, both of whom have ties to Palm Beach County and neither of whom have won on the PGA Tour, more or less bookended the day’s action. List posted the day’s best round of 4-under 66 alongside Thomas Pieters in the first twosome of the day, while Lovemark carded a solid 69 in one of the last groups to finish.

List, who lived in Jupiter from 2010-2013 and lists Bear’s Club as his club affiliation, posted five birdies and only one bogey, that coming on No. 7 — his 16th hole — when he had what he termed a “weird lie” in the bunker and failed to get out.

“The only advantage (to an early start) is the greens might be a little softer, (but) that all goes out the window past 10 o’clock,” List said.

Lovemark, a California native who has lived in Jupiter for eight years, bogeyed two of his first three holes but birdied 4-of-7 midway through the round to climb back up the leaderboard.

“It’s just a course you can make bogeys really quick on,” Lovemark said. “Doesn’t take much at all. Just make a bogey, move on, it’s going to happen. You’ve got to avoid the doubles.”

Thomas, who finished third at the Honda two years ago before missing the cut last year, had a grimace on his face most of the day as he ran off 15 consecutive pars before three-putting from 3 feet on No. 16.

“The greens are pretty chewed up, so they are tough to make some putts (on) late in the day,” Thomas said. “They’re just so firm it’s really hard to control your distance.”

Alex Noren continued the uncanny Honda tradition of first-round leaders struggling to maintain that standard. Noren, whose 66 Thursday had given him a share of the lead with Simpson, had three bogeys and a double-bogey in his first seven holes and wound up at 75, putting him in a 10-way tie at 1-over.

Woods, of course, is in that group, thanks to a 12-foot birdie putt at No. 17 that left him only two shots above par on the Bear Trap instead of three. That was enough to have him smiling afterward.

“So here we are, back at a golf course I know and I play well at, and I feel like I’ve hit a lot of good golf shots, especially in this wind,” he said. “I’ve controlled my ball flight, (and) on top of that, I’ve shaped it both ways and felt very comfortable shaping it both ways.

“I’m right there with a chance.”

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