DORAL, Fla. — Bubba Watson and Justin Rose put on an amazing show of birdies in blustery conditions at Doral, making 17 between them while playing in the same group Friday at the Cadillac Championship.
Their playful duel was decided by Watson's eagle, giving him a 10-under 62 and a one-shot lead.
Watson belted a 3-iron that barely got over a palm tree, carried over the water into the wind and settled 6 feet away on the par-5 eighth for an eagle putt that gave him a one-shot lead over Rose.
Mark Wilson, the third in that group, shot a respectable 70 and was just along for the ride.
"They did everything right," Wilson said. "It was some of the best golf I've seen collectively between them."
Watson was at 12-under 132 and will get to play again in the final group Saturday with Rose, who had to settle for a 64.
"Maybe they've been cutting the hole a little bigger," Rose said.
Despite the steady wind, there were plenty of low scores on the Blue Monster. The average score was 69.9, close to three strokes easier than the opening round. There were 12 scores in the 60s on Thursday, and 31 of them Friday.
Tiger Woods played bogey-free for a 67 and actually lost ground. He moved up the leaderboard, but is seven shots behind going into the weekend, with 14 players ahead of him.
"This is the highest score I could have shot today, for sure," Woods said.
Rory McIlroy, in his first tournament as the new world No. 1, managed a 69 and fell 10 shots off the lead.
Perhaps most peculiar about Watson being atop the leaderboard at Doral is that he doesn't like the course. Without many trees except for waving palms, he can't figure out where he's supposed to hit the ball. But he kept hitting it long, had short irons into the greens and made his share of putts.
As always, there were a few shots that only Watson can see.
He was so far left of the sixth fairway, that a tree was blocking his path to the green. Watson had only 135 yards to the hole, but instead of playing a sand wedge, he hit 9-iron and aimed it some 20 yards right of the green, slicing it back into the left-to-right wind beyond the hole until the wind pushed it back on the descent. It landed 6 feet from the cup.
His caddie, Ted Scott, keeps notes in the yardage book of how Watson plays each hole in every round. Next to the 9-iron from 135 yards, he put in parentheses, "Wow."
There was another "wow" inscription two holes later.
Watson was in the fairway on the par-5 eighth, but the best path to the green was around a palm tree near the ropes where the photographers were camped out.
"I took it right up the edge of that tree. There's a little tree there and it actually nicked that limb a little bit," Watson said. "I hit it as hard as I could, just a low, what everybody calls a stinger. Hit as hard as I could low and knew it wasn't going to slice. So all I was protecting was the draw and it went dead straight and came off perfect. And the rest is history."
He went from one shot behind to one shot ahead of Rose, who had nothing to apologize about his 64. Rose ran off four birdies in a five-hole stretch around the turn, the exception coming on the 18th.