Tiger Woods continued his strong play Friday in the second round of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. Playing in cool, wet and windy conditions, the four-time champion carded a 3-under-par 69 and is tied for second at 5-under 139, one stroke behind leader Rory Sabbatini.
Nearly an inch of overnight rain softened the course and made it play much longer than it did in Thursday’s opening round. Temperatures dipped into the mid-50s and the wind blew up to 20 mph.
Heavy morning rain delayed Tiger’s tee time by nearly two hours, but it didn’t faze him. He has now shot par or better in 22 of his last 23 rounds on the course.
“I’m pleased with the way I played,” Woods said. “Yeah, I missed a couple out there, but overall I knew in these conditions to shoot something in the 60s was going to be a pretty good effort.”
Woods displayed good control of his woods and irons and putted well. He hit 14 of 18 greens and 11 of 14 fairways in regulation and used 27 putts. More impressively, 10 of his approach shots finished 15 feet or closer to the hole.
“That’s all I was trying to do today,” he said. “It’s not about magic or past experiences. It’s just about controlling my golf ball and staying in the present. That’s one thing you have to do on this golf course. It forces you to do that because there’s no letup in it.”
For the second consecutive day, Woods did not make a bogey. However, he did make his second double bogey, something that hasn’t happened in the same week since 2003.
“I only had one bad hole,” Woods said, referring to the par-3 12th.
A late starter with Fred Couples and Bill Haas, Woods nearly holed his second shot on the 470-yard, par-4 first hole, the ball stopping a foot-and-a-half below the cup for an easy birdie. He almost birdied the 455-yard, par-4 second hole, hitting a pitching wedge six feet left of the hole, but hit a poor putt.
Woods missed the green with his approach shot at the par-4 third hole, but hit a nice chip four feet from the pin and made the par-saving putt. He hit a gorgeous 5-iron at the 201-yard, par-3 fourth hole, the ball finishing four feet left of the cup, and converted the birdie putt.
Tiger had to scramble for par at the par-5 fifth. His third shot caught a gust of wind and carried over the back of the green. Woods left a delicate downhill chip four feet above the hole, but he made the putt.
At the 447-yard, par-4 sixth hole, Tiger found the fairway with his driver and punched his second shot from 158 yards pin-high, 25-feet from the hole. Woods poured in the putt.
Woods was unable to birdie the par-5 seventh, where his third shot covered the flag and settled on the back fringe, 12 feet from the cup. He two-putted for a par.
Tiger gave himself a good birdie look at the par-4 eighth but two-putted from 13 feet. He nearly dropped a 35-foot birdie attempt at the par-4 ninth but two-putted to make the turn in 3-under 33.
Woods two-putted the difficult, 471-yard, par-4 10th hole from 43 feet, making a tough, four-foot, par-saving putt. At the par-5 11th, he hit a beautiful third shot from 115 yards just inside of four feet but was unable to capitalize.
The 159-yard 12th hole is protected by water in front and often gives players fits. The front-left pin was no bargain, and Tiger missed the green left in heavy rough. Woods tried to flop his speedy, downhill second shot just onto the putting surface to let the ball release toward the hole, but he came up short of the green. He left his third shot 12 feet short of the cup and two-putted for a double bogey.
Smarting from two tough holes, Woods drove into the left rough at the 455-yard, par-4 13th and knocked his approach shot 59 feet past the flag. He left his birdie try eight feet short, but prevented further damage by rolling in the par-saving putt.
Woods two-putted the short par-4 14th hole from 14 feet, just missing on the right side of the cup, then birdied the par-5 15th. At the latter, he had no chance to reach the green in two, so he played a nice lay-up shot to 122 yards and hit a wedge five feet behind the hole, setting up his fourth birdie of the round.
Tiger made it two in a row at the 194-yard, par-3 16th hole, which ranked among the toughest holes of the day. He hit a towering 8-iron five feet above the cup and stroked in the speedy birdie putt.
Woods two-putted the last two holes for pars.
“I’ve felt good all week,” he said of his putting. “My speed has been good and I’m seeing the lines.”
As for the weekend, Woods is looking for more of the same.
“Just be patient,” he said. “The guys aren’t going to go out and shoot a bunch of low rounds out here. This golf course is hard. The pin locations for tomorrow are going to be tough. So it’s going to be another good test.”
Woods will tee off Saturday at 1:20 p.m. ET with Scott Stallings.