tiger roars back into contention

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Tiger Woods burst into contention with a second round 66 at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic brought the former world number one within two shots of the lead.

Looking far more like the player who won 14 Major Championships than during his “scratchy” opening 71, the former World Number One was again partnering Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer, the two men who have overtaken him on the rankings.

Woods even charged into a share of the lead at one point - and this after he had been down in 85th spot 12 holes into his opening round.

Given a huge boost in confidence by a closing eagle in his opening round, the American resumed six adrift of overnight leader Rory McIlroy, but took only 15 holes to wipe out that deficit as McIlroy waited to tee off again.

Woods' run started on the 467 yard 12th, the hole he double-bogeyed on his previous visit, and further birdies came on the 13th and 18th - both par fives - to take him to the turn in 34.

After saving par from a bunker at the first he pitched to seven feet from the rough on the next, rolled in a 25 footer at the short fourth and then produced his shot of the day.

The par four sixth hole measures 485 yards, but the 2006 and 2008 champion cut the corner with a 314 yard drive and then hit a brilliant approach to two feet.

That was the moment he was briefly joint leader, but by finishing with three pars Woods reached halfway on 137, seven under, and found himself two behind South African Thomas Aiken.

McIlroy, though, was only just setting off and had the chance to open some daylight.

It is almost 15 months since Woods last tasted victory, and Westwood, who took over as World Number One last October, is in the hunt too, but a closing bogey left him on five under following a 70.

Kaymer, meanwhile, added a 71 to his opening 69 to be one further back.

Aiken, yet to win on the European Tour despite six top 14 finishes in seven appearances this year, still had three holes to play, but he too birdied the difficult sixth.