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Friday, May 31, 2013
Tiger trails Bill Haas by 10 strokes

By Bob Harig
ESPN.com

DUBLIN, Ohio -- Tiger Woods was in danger of missing a rare 36-hole cut on the PGA Tour before a mini-rally on his back nine at Muirfield Village Golf Club on Friday afternoon.

Despite a bogey on his final hole, Woods will be around for the weekend at the Memorial Tournament, but his chances of defending his title here and winning for the fifth time in 2013 were severely impacted by a 2-over-par 74.

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods makes it clear his second shot on No. 11 is not on a line he would like. The defending Memorial champion has lots of ground to make up this weekend after shooting 2-over 74 Friday.

Woods finished at 145, 1-over par, 10 strokes back of leader Bill Haas with play suspended late Friday.

"It was tough conditions out there. And I didn't exactly play my best either," Woods said. "It was a little rough out there and it's not that hard to make bogeys and doubles on this golf course. You hit the ball in the wrong spot, get the wrong gusts, and we had some shots in our group that ended up in some interesting spots."

Keegan Bradley also shot 74 while Fred Couples had 75.

Woods, who had come into the week having three victories in his past four starts and began the day having shot 16 of his past 17 rounds under par, was shaky from the outset, missing three of his first four greens and hitting only four over his first nine holes.

He had a number of unusual stances, was fooled by the wind and had difficulty putting, taking 30 strokes on the greens for the second day and admitting he had problems with the speed. He hit just 10 greens in regulation.

His troubles were exemplified by the last hole, the par-4 ninth, where Woods had just 148 yards to the pin but saw his second shot travel just 125 yards, nearly ending up in the water. That led to his final bogey.

Woods has shot worse than 74 just twice in 52 previous rounds at Muirfield Village -- the most recent 10 years ago, a 76 during the third round of the 2003 Memorial -- and matched his third-worst score. He last shot 74 during the second round of the 2009 tournament that he went on to win.

In 53 rounds at Muirfield Village, Woods has shot over par just nine times.

He made a double-bogey 7 at the par-5 15th (a hole he has played in 3 over par so far) after 3-putting from 5 feet and didn't make his first birdie until the fifth hole, his 14th of the day. He added another at the par-5 seventh.

Woods, who won three weeks ago at the Players Championship and has his sights set on the U.S. Open in two weeks, said he was not concerned about his ball striking or the state of his game.

"I haven't won every tournament I've played in," he said. "I'm not too disappointed with it. It's not that far off. And on a golf course like this with wind gusts like this, it's tough."

Woods has missed just nine cuts as a professional in his 17 years on the PGA Tour, with four coming in the past three years. He missed twice last year, at the Wells Fargo Championship and the Greenbrier Classic. He also missed a cut earlier this year at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, where a two-stroke penalty contributed to missing by one. That is the only time Woods has missed the cut in a regular European Tour event.

But as is his custom, Woods said he was not focused on the cut number.

"I was just trying to get to under par for the day for my round," Woods said. "That obviously didn't turn out to be the case. And with a couple of holes left I felt like I had at least had a chance to get to even par for my round, and then I catch a huge gust on the last hole and barely get it over the water.

"All in all, I fought hard, and that's all I've got."