Potomac - Tiger Woods roared into contention for his first victory since 2013, matching the best round of his injury comeback with a five-under par 65 in Friday's second round of the Quicken Loans National.
With a spectacular chip-in and two putts beyond 20 feet among his seven birdies, the 14-time major winner stood on five-under 135 after 36 holes at TPC Potomac, only four strokes off the early clubhouse lead held by American Beau Hossler.
Woods showed confidence and comfort with a new mallet putter being used in competition for only the second day in place of the Scotty Cameron putter he used in winning 13 major titles.
Former world number one Woods, who hadn't played in the event he hosts since 2015 due to back pain, is making the 11th start of his return from spinal fusion surgery.
Woods had produced his best round of 2018 at May's Players Championship with a seven-under 65. The last time he went lower was an opening-round six-under 64 at Greensboro in 2015.
While his 79 career PGA victories are three shy of Sam Snead's all-time record, Woods has not won a title since the 2013 WGC Bridgestone Invitational and last captured a major at the 2008 US Open.
In all, Woods hit 10 of 14 fairways, reached 13 of 18 greens in regulation and needed only 26 putts.
Woods, ranked 82nd, began on the back nine and sank a 24-foot birdie putt on the 10th hole.
The 42-year-old American took a bogey at 11 after sending his approach into deep grass but bounced back by sinking a 19-foot birdie putt at the par-3 12th.
Woods followed with a 16-foot birdie putt at the par-4 15th, but missed a six-footer to bogey the par-3 17th.
Again Woods responded to a bogey with a birdie at the next hole, chipping in from 32 yards at the par-4 18th, sparking a roar from spectators as he made the turn.
After driving the green at the 606-yard par-5 second, Woods missed a 40-footer for eagle but tapped in for birdie, then dropped in a 25-foot birdie putt at the par-3 third.
Woods missed a 15-foot birdie putt at the fourth but landed his approach at the fifth 2 1/2 feet from the hole and tapped in for birdie to reach 5-under, then only three shots off the lead.
Woods showed his short game was in strong shape as well, blasting out from bunkers at the eighth and ninth, his final holes of the day, to save pars with tense putts from five feet.