By Larry Fine
WINDERMERE, Florida (Reuters) - Tiger Woods shook off the effects of a fever as he played the front nine in even par in Friday's second round of the Hero World Challenge.
Woods, who shot an opening five-over-par 77 on Thursday in his first competition since August, had already sweated through his gray shirt as he stood on the first tee after politely declining to shake sponsors' hands because he was afraid he was contagious.
The tournament host, whose foundation benefits from the 18-player event, promptly striped his tee shot, knocked his approach five feet from the cup and made birdie.
That was his lone birdie on the outward nine, squandering a chance from five feet on the par-three fifth. He gave a shot back at the par-four eighth when he bladed a chip from short of the green about 60 feet past the hole and two-putted for bogey.
Woods showed signs of being under the weather, pausing to cough before some shots and sitting on a cooler by the tee for relief on a hot, humid day at Isleworth.
Yet in contrast to his struggles on Thursday when he went five-over for the first nine holes, Woods struck the ball with more confidence and hit his share of fairways and greens.
His display paled in comparison, though, to red-hot playing partner Patrick Reed.
Reed, one of the few U.S. bright spots in the recent Ryder Cup defeat to Europe, scorched the tree- and water-lined layout outside of Orlando with five birdies and a 40-foot eagle putt to fire a seven-under-par 29 to charge up the leaderboard to six under par for the tournament.
Sweden's Henrik Stenson was leading at eight under par through four holes, one shot better than Jordan Spieth, the overnight leader, who had played three holes.
(Editing by Gene Cherry)