JIM FURYK IS the man to beat at the Bridgestone Invitational after taking a two-shot lead at the halfway point.
Furyk backed up his impressive 63 in the first round with a four-under-par 66 on Friday at the Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.
Spaniard Rafael Cabrera Bello carded a 65 to move up into second place with former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen a further stroke back at eight under.
American Jason Dufner is in outright fourth at seven under, one shot clear of South Korean K.T. Kim with David Toms and world number one Luke Donald still in the hunt at five under.
Furyk made a positive start to his round with two birdies inside six holes before his first and only blemish on the par-four eighth where he carded a bogey.
He immediately responded with a birdie the following hole before two more on his back nine to maintain his lead at the top.
“I’m obviously happy to shoot 66 following up the 63,” said Furyk. ”At times, you go out there and fire a low score one day, and it’s hard to follow it up the next and keep that momentum going.”
“But the fact that I did it in the afternoon yesterday, it’s kind of quick. You get a quick dinner, get to sleep, get right back out on the golf course in the morning.
“So I was able to kind of keep that momentum, knocked in a couple good putts today and made some great saves actually, some good par saves to keep the round going.”
Cabrero Bello carded two birdies in his final three holes to move up to nine under, while Oosthuizen picked up four shots in his last eight holes to ensure Furyk did not have a greater lead going into the weekend.
Defending champion Adam Scott matched two birdies with two bogeys to be in a tie for 35th place, while seven-time winner Tiger Woods’ hopes for an eighth title and return to the top of the rankings appear to be over after he carded a 72 to sit 13 shots off the pace in a tie for 44th.