Shane Lowry / Image from Getty Images
Lowry has been on the opposite side of the draw to Woods for the first two days of the event but with his group and Woods group ending-up together in the Copperhead course scorer’s hut at the end of each round.
Lowry was delighted to add a one-under par 70 to his opening 71 while Woods was leading with a hole to play before the only bogey on day two in his score of 68 saw him end the day tied with England’s Paul Casey (68) and American Brandt Snedeker (68).
Canadian rookie Corey Conners, a Monday qualifier, added a 68 to his opening 67 to enjoy a two-shot lead on six-under par with Kelly Kraft (70) and Ryan Palmer (66) moving to tie Woods, Casey and Snedeker in second place at four-under.
Woods finds himself in with a chance of victory for a first occasion since sharing the lead after two rounds of the 2015 Wyndham Championship in what was his last event before undergoing multiple back surgery and not playing again until the end of 2016.
Woods has ignited the sports world being now, two rounds shy of ending what would be a five-year winless drought.
“It’s great because I am up there now with a chance to win,” said Woods.
“It was a good day’s work as it was cold early and then the wind started picking-up a bit but then it was inconsistent and tough to assess what direction it was coming from.”
“So, there was a lot of guessing and I guessed pretty good so I now have a really good Saturday tee time.”
Woods went into the second round again drawing a record tournament following with the west coast of Florida fans needing only to wait until the third hole for some positive action as Woods holed a nine-footer for the first of four birdies.
He then birdied his fourth hole, sinking a six-footer and then moved to a then share of the lead with a birdie at the 11th hole of his round.
Woods then found himself in the lead in getting up-and-down for birdie at his 14th hole prior to the only hiccup on day two at his last.
“It’s just a matter of cleaning-up a few shots here and there and I had a shot lead with a few holes to go,” Woods added.
“So, all I will be doing now over the weekend is basically continue trying to do what I have been doing for these first two rounds.”
“I made some little changes in my game since we were out in L.A. and they’ve worked so much so I am now feeling a lot more comfortable with my game than I was at the Honda last fortnight.”
Lowry was two over for his round with bogeys at five and seven but the Clara golfer regrouped by holing a 12-footer for birdie at the par-5 11th hole and then sank a 16-footer from right of the flag at the par-3 15th.
He then played the ‘Snake Pit’, and the closing three holes of the Copperhead course, in level par.
“Tiger and myself will have to stop meeting like this but then I’m really pleased with how I grounded it out today as I didn’t play as well as yesterday,” said Lowry.
“I holed a few long putts today and that kept me going, so overall I’m delighted as at this stage I am not far off the lead and up where I would want to be.”
“I am also extra happy as Ireland are playing Scotland in the morning here, so I will get to watch that.”
And with Woods among those leading, Lowry liked the thought of possibly being paired with Woods over the final round.
“It’s just great not only for this event but for golf in general Tiger is up there and sharing the lead,” said Lowry.
“It’s been madness for two days running here and I’ve seen that when I’ve come out of the scorer’s hut as it’s like having to run the gauntlet of so many fans out here cheering for him.”
“I know it’s Tiger’s first time here at the Valspar and it’s also my first time playing the event and it would be great to be paired with him on Sunday. So, that’s the plan at this stage.”