Phoenix Open: Martin Laird one off lead after birdie at 18th

SCOTTSDALE AZ- FEBRUARY 06 A view of the 16th hole during the third round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale

Standing in his way, Laird is a three-time Tour victor who last tasted victory at the 2013 Zurich Classic, while a loaded chase pack will start another three shots back.

The 25-year-old Korean, who won the 2009 USA amateur title before turning professional in 2011, piled up six birdies in a bogey-free display to post a 16-under total of 197.

Steele had four birdies in a flawless 67, holing putts of 18 and 15 feet on the last two holes to snatch a share of the halfway lead.

On the first day of the tournament, Thursday, 103,420 spectators attended.

Kuchar seemed satisfied with his round, saying, "Hard to keep up with yesterday's 7-under".

Kuchar said he didn't drive it as well on Friday as he did in his sparkling seven-under effort in the first round.

"Well, I didn't hit the ball very well", said Woods, a two-time champion in Dubai. "It feels like the course plays so much longer in the morning".

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"I got here Monday", he said.

Laird is comfortable on the TPC Scottsdale layout boasting two top five finishes in nine appearances and will fancy his chances tomorrow.

Five-time major victor Phil Mickelson, a three-time victor and fan favorite in Phoenix, shot 70 to enter the weekend at four-under par.

The former European Tour player has dropped just one shot in the opening three rounds in Arizona and an impressive par putt from nearly 10 feet at the 54 hole now has him on track for a maiden PGA Tour title. "But I'm playing well".

Those missing the cut made at one-under 141 included Justin Thomas and Bubba Watson.

Justin Thomas gained the loudest roar of the day at 16 when he nearly holed his tee shot, tapping in for birdie en route to a two-under 69.

Luke Donald also missed the cut by finishing at even par after two rounds.

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