British Open Round 2: Tiger Woods shoots an even-par 71
Tiger Woods turned grinder again on Friday, battling his way around Muirfield Golf Club in the second round of the 142nd British Open.
Woods scrambled to make par throughout the day, closing his round of even-par 71 with a birdie on 18 to get him back to 2 under for the tournament.
As tough as the course is playing, he should still be in contact with the leaders by the end of the day.
First-round leader Zach Johnson (5-under 66) had teed off when Woods finished his round.
Woods is chasing his 15th major championship, but his first since the 2008 U.S. Open.
ESPN has the TV broadcast.
LEADERBOARD: 142nd British Open
Woods played with 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell, who opened with a 4-over 75. We tracked their progress throughout the day.
Tiger Woods rebounds, cards 69
Given where his first tee shot ended up and considering the issues with his left elbow and the lack of golf he’s played in the past month, a 2-under-par 69 for Tiger Woods on Thursday was more than acceptable.
Woods overcame an unplayable lie at the first, a chip that failed to stay on the green at the sixth and a putt that went off the green at the 12th to get under par and within 3 strokes of first-round leader Zach Johnson at the Open Championship.
“It was tough,” said Woods, who has now been under par in five of his past six opening rounds at major championships. “The golf course progressively got more dried out and more difficult as we played. And I’m very pleased to shoot anything even par or better.”
Despite sunny skies and comfortable temperatures that got into the 70s, Muirfield turned treacherous during the opening round, even though 14 players shot in the 60s. Among them were 56-year-old Mark O’Meara, Dustin Johnson, Brandt Snedeker, Phil Mickelson and 19-year-old Jordan Spieth.
But there were also a number of scores in the 80s, including major champions Lucas Glover (80) and Paul Lawrie (81). Second-ranked Rory McIlroy shot 79, and No. 9 Luke Donald had an 80.
…More at Woods Reflects On 1st Round – ESPN
Tiger shows guts of old at Muirfield
Woods shot a 2-under-par round of 69 that was as good as any he has played at a major since that win in San Diego.
“Tiger played phenomenally well,” playing partner Graeme McDowell said. “Really grinded it out well. Did what he does best.”
Not that anyone would have thought Woods would be getting any plaudits after his first tee shot.
He has a history of stage fright on the first tee at majors and was betrayed by his nerves again on Thursday, hitting a wounded duck of a hook into what is possibly the only tree at Muirfield. His ball bounced back into waist-high fescue so thick he needed to take a penalty drop just to be able to get a club on his ball.
But Woods set the tone for his day by somehow escaping that nightmare with only a bogey.
He certainly made other mistakes — a horrible chip and putting off a green led to other bogeys — but Woods had 10 one-putts that made him one of only four players to shoot in the 60s in the afternoon wave, when difficult conditions grew far more treacherous.
British Open: Zach Johnson leads after first round; former champ Mark O’Meara shoots 67
This course, as much as any other, has a history of producing champions who represent their eras — Hagan and Player and Nicklaus and Trevino, onto Watson and Faldo and Els. All of them were tremendous ball-strikers, and all were able to separate themselves on this track that is, generally, less tricky and more straightforward than most Open venues.
But while the hot — and in Scotland, anything in the 70s qualifies as “hot” — conditions over the past two weeks may have been nice for residents, it has served to dry out the course. Thus, Muirfield’s greens have a bit of a crust to them. Many are brown in spots, so hard they felt like kitchen counters — more so as the day wore on.
“It’s literally like an ice rink around some of the holes,” Graeme McDowell said.
The R&A, which stages the Open, dismissed the complaints summarily. “We’re still very satisfied with the course,” CEO Peter Dawson said. “It’s playable, but indeed very testing.”
All jolly good, then. But listen to Phil Mickelson, whose most recent memory of Muirfield was his three-putt at the last, one in which his first putt from perhaps 15 feet looked at the hole as it rolled by, and finally stopped six feet past. He missed the come-backer, marring an otherwise solid 69, and then offered this afterward: He was fortunate that he played early, because the setup was borderline unfair.
…More at British Open: Zach Johnson leads after first round; former champ Mark O’Meara … – Washington Post