Mahan leads in the heat
BETHESDA, Md. - A punishing golf course. Temperatures topping 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." Robert Garrigus had his sixth straight sub-par round at Congressional — that includes last year at the U.S. Open when he became a footnote in history as only the fourth American to break par all rounds of a U.S. Open — with a 67 and was two shots behind, along with Jimmy Walker and Brendon De Jonge, who each had a 69. Stewart Cink, who draped a towel over his head waiting his turn to putt on the 14th green, showed signs of a resurgence with a 68 that put him in the group three shots behind, along with Vijay Singh (70), Pat Perez (69) and Rod Pampling (67). Woods was at 2-under 140, in a tie for 11th. CHAMPIONS: Defending champion Fred Couples birdied the final three holes for a 7-under 63 and the second-round lead in the Senior Players Championship, the third of five Champions Tour majors. Couples had an 11-under 129 on the Fox Chapel course in Pittsburgh. Joe Daley was a stroke back after a 64. LPGA: Veronica Felibert shot a career-best 6-under 65 to take the first-round lead in the LPGA Tour's NW Arkansas Championship. Felibert, a rookie from Venezuela who made the field as the second alternate, had seven birdies and needed only 27 putts at Pinnacle Country Club. China's Shanshan Feng was a stroke back.