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Tiger poised for push at Bay Hill

By Simon Evans

ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - Tiger Woods set himself up for a real shot at his first PGA Tour win in over two years by grabbing a share of the lead after the second round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Friday.

Woods, who shot a bogey-free round of 65, and South Korean Charlie Wi reached the halfway point level at ten-under par, a stroke ahead of Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell and in-form American Jason Dufner.

Former world number one Woods has not won on the Tour since his victory in the BMW Championship in September, 2009, but has already racked up six titles on the Bay Hill course.

"Fortunately I've had a few places where I've felt comfortable and played well and this is one of them," said Woods.

"It was a solid round of golf. I actually felt like I hit it better yesterday than today but I've made more putts today for sure. I felt great over the putter.

"My speed was good, I left a couple of putts dead short right in the centre of the hole and it really could have been a really low round today. A lot of positives."

Wi, who shared the overnight lead with Dufner, birdied four of the last six holes to remain tied at the top of the leaderboard.

World number 17 McDowell produced a sparkling nine-under 63 to put himself in contention for what promises to be a fascinating weekend.

McDowell, the 2010 U.S. Open champion, was also bogey-free and notched seven birdies, and an eagle at the par-five 16th.

His 63, one shy of the course record, was in marked contrast to last year when he slumped to an ugly 80 in the opening round.

"My record has not been very good here the last few years but still I had the belief I could come and compete here if I got it all together," he said.

"It is going to be a quality leaderboard and it's nice to be in the mix heading into the weekend," added the Northern Irishman.

Dufner, the joint overnight leader with Wi, returned a 69 to join McDowell on nine under.

England's Justin Rose carded a second 69 and is four shots behind the leaders after bogeys on the eighth and ninth restricted his progress.

"I had it going really nicely on the front nine got it to seven-under par and then threw two bogeys which killed the momentum. From that point on it was a struggle for the rest of the day," he said.

Spain's Sergio Garcia also showed promising pre-U.S. Masters form when a 67 put him on 139 along with American Bubba Watson (70).

(Editing by Julian Linden)

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