Big-hitting Bubba Watson and England’s Justin Rose played together and made it a day to remember in Miami today.
Left-hander Watson was only one outside the Doral Blue Monster course record with a 10-under-par 62 in the second round of the Cadillac Championship.
Rose shot 64 and at halfway in the second of this season’s world championships they lead the way at 12 under and 11 under respectively.
Tiger Woods shot a bogey-free 67, yet still finds himself seven behind, while new world number one Rory McIlroy could not make the most of an eagle-birdie start and after a three-putt bogey finish for a 69 is 10 adrift.
Between them Watson and Rose had an eagle and 17 birdies, the American’s six-foot putt for a three at the long eighth – their 17th – settling their battle for supremacy.
“That was a fun round. We fed off each other’s energy,” said Rose.
“I don’t know whether they rolled the greens after the rain, but they rolled so smoothly.”
The 31-year-old is, of course, trying to make it back-to-back wins for European golfers in America following McIlroy’s Honda Classic success last Sunday.
He resumed three behind overnight leaders Adam Scott and Jason Dufner, but wiped that out by starting with a hat-trick of birdies and picked up further strokes at the 16th and 17th to turn in 31.
Already a three-time winner in the States, the former European Tour number one then moved to seven under for his first 11 holes by two-putting the long first and pitching to four feet on the next.
Rose repeated that three holes later, saved par from the rough on the 442-yard sixth and from fairway bunkers at the 454-yard seventh and long eighth.
He was three ahead at one point, but Watson, also out in 31, finished much the stronger with birdies at the fifth and sixth and then his glorious eagle.
Scott is now in third place on 10 under, one better than Swede Peter Hanson, while Luke Donald’s 68 took him to six under.
Lee Westwood, playing with the two players ahead of him on the world rankings in McIlroy and Donald, had the best round of the three – a 67 – but that came after a 76 and so he is only one under compared to the Northern Irishman’s two under.
McIlroy had confessed to feeling “mentally flat” in his opening 73, but that did not seem to be the case as he set off again.
The 22-year-old was less than four feet from the flag with his first two iron shots and leapt immediately from one over to two under.
Two bogeys followed in the next three holes, however, and he had to wait until the 10th and 12th – both par fives – for his next birdies.
Woods, second to McIlroy last week after a closing 62, will draw comfort from not dropping any strokes, but not everything was as it should be.
The 14-major winner was so disgusted with duffing a pitch into a bunker on the second that he took a furious hack at the ground with his club.
“It certainly could be had – the par fives are all reachable for the long hitters,” he said. “This is the highest score I could have shot for sure – it could have been pretty low.”
Scots Paul Lawrie and Martin Laird recorded 74 and 73 respectively to drop back to level par and one over, while Open champion Darren Clarke had a second successive 74 for four over and was again left cursing the 18th.
It cost him a triple bogey seven on the opening day and he improved only one on that on his return after driving into the lake again.