POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jun 30, 2012
BETHESDA, Md. » A punishing golf course. Temperatures that topped 100. Hunter Mahan still managed to make Friday at Congressional feel like a breeze.
Mahan finally had a good score to match the efficient way he has been swinging the club. He made seven birdies in the stifling heat for a 6-under 65, giving him a two-shot lead going into the weekend at the AT&T National as he goes after a PGA Tour-leading third win of the year.
Chris Couch sought medical attention and struggled to finish in the oppressive conditions. One caddie had to stop after nine holes, and another vomited to the side of the 13th green from drinking too much water.
Tiger Woods stayed in the game with a 68 in the morning, when it was still so hot that towels were used to wipe sweaty faces more than to clean clubs. He talked about the value of staying fit and strong to survive days like this. He was five shots behind.
Mahan was at 7-under 135. His two rounds fulfilled what his swing coach, Sean Foley, said Thursday when describing his ball-striking as "a laser show."
Veronica Felibert shot a career-best 6-under 65 on Friday to take the first-round lead in the LPGA Tour's NW Arkansas Championship.
China's Shanshan Feng was a stroke back.
Michelle Wie's season-long struggles continued with a 1-over 72. Fellow Punahou product Stephanie Kono struggled to an 11-over-par 82 and sits in last place. Sacred Hearts alumna Ayaka Kaneko shot a 75.
Defending champion Fred Couples birdied the final three holes in sweltering conditions for a 7-under 63 and the second-round lead in the Senior Players Championship.
Couples, the winner last year at Westchester Country Club in Harrison, N.Y., reached 11 under at Fox Chapel on a day when the temperature reached 96 degrees with a heat index of 105.
Frenchman Gregory Bourdy shot a 5-under 67 to take a one-stroke lead in after the second round of the Irish Open, while home favorite Rory McIlroy edged his way into contention.
Bourdy had an eagle, six birdies and three bogeys to reach 12 under at Royal Portrush.
Englishman Mark Foster was second after a 67.