Sam Greenwood, Getty Images
Brian Davis plays the 8th hole during Friday's second round of the Honda Classic at PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Dudley Hart spent some of Friday afternoon poised to turn The Honda Classic into a runaway. Later in the day, it was Brian Davis' turn to take what seemed like a huge lead.

But PGA National eventually caught up with them.

And by nightfall, the Honda leaderboard was muddled again.

Davis shot a 3-under 67 to finish the day at 8 under, one shot better than Matt Jones (67) and two shots ahead of Hart — a former South Florida resident whose last victory was at the 2000 Honda, and who peeled off six straight birdies in a 66.

After a bogey-free opening round, Davis started his second round just as precisely, getting to 10 under at one point and four shots clear of the field.

Then this diabolical course — as it typically does — began to fight back.

Davis made a double bogey at the par-3 seventh, his 16th of the day, then missed the green to the right and slid a 10-foot par try just past the cup on his final hole.

John Mallinger (67) and Ben Crane (66) were tied for fourth, three shots off the lead. Ernie Els shot a 70 and was in a group of six players, including Mark Calcavecchia and Robert Allenby, five shots back of Davis.

First-round leader Luke Donald shot a 74, including a quadruple bogey on the 14th, to fall six shots back.

Hart played in the afternoon, when the wind picked up and the course, theoretically, was significantly harder. But he went out in 29, and only a double bogey at the par-3 17th kept him from finishing the day with a share of the lead.

HSBC WOMEN'S CHAMPIONS: At Singapore, top-ranked Lorena Ochoa took a seven-stroke lead in the inaugural HSBC Women's Champions, following her season-opening 66 with a 65. The Mexican star, an eight-time winner last year, is making her first start of the year after skipping the World Cup and the LPGA Tour's opening events in Hawaii. Annika Sorenstam (67) and Paula Creamer (71), the winners in Hawaii, were tied for second at 6 under with South Korea's In-Kyung Kim.

Stacy Prammanasudh (69), Karrie Webb (70) and Linda Wessberg (71) were 5 under, and Natalie Gulbis (68) and Jee Young Lee (72) were another stroke back.