PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Hal Sutton wasn't backing down. Tiger Woods wasn't giving up.
Sutton shot his second straight round of 3-under-par 69 on Friday to maintain The Players Championship lead after two rounds on the fast, dry and difficult TPC Stadium Course at Sawgrass.
One stroke behind were Tom Lehman and Omar Uresti, who each shot 68. Fulton Allem shot 7-under 65, the best round since the late Payne Stewart had the same score in the final round two years ago to finish fourth.
Lurking another shot back is Woods, who shot his second straight 71 and felt good about his chances for the weekend.
''I am very pleased with the way I'm hitting the golf ball, the way I'm putting it,'' Woods said. ''It's just that sometimes you get bad breaks and things just don't go your way. But overall, I'm very pleased with my position.''
So, of course, is Sutton, who has spent the entire week refuting the theory that the sight of Woods on the leader board is enough to demoralize even the hardiest of competitors.
The 41-year-old Sutton had other problems to worry about in the second round, especially when his tee shot plunked in the water on No. 18. But he overcame that by dropping in the rough and hitting his third shot to 15 feet, then sinking the putt to save bogey.
That sparked a streak of birdies once he made the turn to the front side. He made birdie putts of 18, 18 and 40 feet to go to 5-under, then made another birdie on No. 6 to finish at 6-under, four strokes ahead of Woods.
''The only person I can control is myself, and I'm out of control half the time,'' Sutton said. ''I'm certainly not going to be able to control somebody else in what they do. I'm going to work on trying to do the best I can with me.''
Lehman also took a me-first attitude after a round in which he made three birdies, an eagle and just one bogey on a course that was playing at an average of 3.2 strokes over par.
He's not buying into the theory that Woods, who has won 10 of the last 16 tournaments he has entered, is invincible.
''I was always raised to think there are two cardinal sins in sports,'' Lehman said. ''One is underestimating your opponent, and the other is overestimating your opponent. Both ways don't do you any good in terms of your own performance.''
As much as Woods, the biggest challenge this weekend should be overcoming this course, which dried out as the day wore on, bringing abundant sunshine and gusty winds.
As usual, the wind made things extra difficult on a course that the tour actually tried to tame a bit after last year, when conditions flared out of control and only two players finished below par.
''They are trying to get it right on the edge of where it is very tough, but fair,'' Sutton said. ''When you have dry, gusty conditions like that, it can get out of hand before you know what's going on.''
That would seem to play into the hands of the best player in the world. Despite a handful of bad breaks -- including a great drive on No. 4 that landed in a divot and resulted in a double bogey -- Woods was as optimistic as ever.
''I'm right there in the hunt with a chance to win, and that's where you want to be,'' he said.
And with that, he was ready for the weekend to begin.
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