Lee Westwood and Luke Donald both produced thrilling bursts onto the leaderboard in the second round of the Honda Classic in Florida today.
Three weeks after finishing fifth in the Nissan Open in Los Angeles Westwood added a superb 66 to his opening 73 and from joint 47th overnight even found himself out in front for a while.
Donald, meanwhile, played his last seven holes in a spectacular six under par for a 67 that put him alongside Westwood on five under at halfway.
And European interest did not end there. After a 65 Swede Daniel Chopra shared the early clubhouse lead with Australian Geoff Ogilvy on six under, while his compatriot Mathias Gronberg was only just setting off again following his pacesetting first day 65.
Westwood, seeking his first victory since 2003, turned in 33 with birdies at the 10th, 12th and 14th and then had three more in a row from the fifth.
That was good, but what Donald did over the same stretch was even better.
The world number 14, second favourite for the title based on the rankings, followed birdies at the third, fourth and fifth with a 20-foot eagle putt on the next and then picked up another shot at the short eighth to be home in 30.
Last weekend Chopra was second with a round to go at the Ford Championship in Miami, but paired with Tiger Woods crashed to a 77 and 20th place. This week, though, David Toms is the only member of the world’s top 10 taking part.
Ogilvy’s round was almost as much a rollercoaster ride as his opening 67, which had included everything from an albatross – only the second on the US Tour this season – to a double bogey.
At seven under he was two clear of the field with four to play, but he double-bogeyed the par-three 15th, dropped another shot on the next after driving into a bunker and then jumped back into the joint lead by converting a nine-foot eagle putt at the 556-yard 17th.
That was the same hole the Adelaide golfer, winner of the Accenture World Match Play title on his last start two weeks ago, had eagled in the first round.
Gronberg, who came into the event only on Wednesday when Nick Faldo withdrew because of an illness in his family, remained five under after two holes, but joint first round leader Toms resumed with a bogey.
Greg Owen’s second successive 71 was good enough to leave him in a tie for 15th spot midway through the day’s play, while defending champion Padraig Harrington, playing with Toms, was only one stroke further back.
Ian Poulter and Brian Davis, two more of the later starters, had a real battle to avoid the cut after starting with rounds of 75 and 76 respectively.