Tiger Woods birdied his final two holes to avoid an early exit from the Honda Classic on Friday, while journeyman Tom Gillis stormed into the early clubhouse lead with a bogey-free second round.
American Gillis fired six birdies during largely wind-free morning hours for a six-under 64 that was good enough for a tie of the PGA National course record until compatriot Brian Harman smashed it with a nine-under 61 that left him two shots back.
Former world number one Woods, playing in the $1.02 million event for the first time as a professional, flirted with the cut but ended strong for a two-under 68 and one-under total of 139.
The cut is projected to fall at one-over 141.
Neither Woods, nor playing partner Lee Westwood (69), the world number two, could take advantage of benign early conditions.
"It was a little bit of a fight today, probably the worst I have hit the ball in months but I managed to score," said Woods, whose mother and son were in attendance.
The 14-times major winner, who double-bogeyed the fifth, produced putts when he needed them the most, draining a six-footer on the eighth and a 12-footer on the ninth, his final hole, to put himself safely inside the cutline.
Gillis, 43, who described himself as the "prototypical journeyman," had two birdies in his first nine holes before closing with four on the back nine.
Britain's Rory McIlroy, who can grab the world number one slot from Luke Donald with a win this week, was among the later groups on Friday.
British Open champion Darren Clarke was among the more notable players who will miss the cut after a five-over-par 75 second round left him with an eight-over total of 148.