Finau, Palmer share Memorial lead as Woods struggles

posted July 18, 2020 at 07:30 am
by  AFP
Los Angeles, United States | Tony Finau shook off two early bogeys to post a three-under-par 69 on Friday and maintain a share of the lead alongside Ryan Palmer early in the second round of the US PGA Tour Memorial.

DUBLIN, OHIO: PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan and Jack Nicklaus ride in a cart during the first round of The Memorial Tournament on July 16, 2020 at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.   Sam Greenwood/Getty Images/AFP
As reigning Masters champion Tiger Woods struggled with back issues on his way to a four-over-par 76 -- and possibly his first ever missed cut at the Memorial -- overnight leader Finau and Palmer, who started the day one back, steered a steady course.

Finau capped his round with an approach to two feet for his fifth birdie of the day at his final hole, the ninth, finishing 36 holes on nine-under par 135.

"I was really happy with the finish, the way I finished," said Finau, who opened with a bogey at the 10th and dropped another shot at 12 before rolling in an 11-foot birdie putt at the 15th and a two-footer at 17.

"Not the ideal start, but I knew I couldn't look back after 12, just keep on plugging along and try to hit good shot after good shot, and was able to execute a lot better after that," added Finau, who birdied five and seven before his impressive closing flourish.

Palmer also bounced back from an early bogey, notching five birdies in his four-under 68.

Their closest pursuer in the clubhouse was Spain's Jon Rahm, who carded a 67 for 136.

Reigning US Open champion Gary Woodland fired a 70 and was two adrift.

World number two Rahm had six birdies in his five-under effort, bolstering his bid to overtake Rory McIlroy atop the world rankings this week.

With Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio, playing tough, McIlroy took a wild path to an even-par 72 and a two-under total of 142.

The Northern Ireland star's round included a double-bogey, an eagle, four birdies and four bogeys.

"I don't know what it was," said McIlroy, who dunked a ball in a creek at 11 and landed his approach from the fairway eight feet from the pin for eagle at the fifth. "It was a few birdies and an eagle thrown in there and a few mistakes.

"There's some good in there, some mediocre and there was some pretty poor shots," McIlroy said. "But I battled back well."

But Woods, playing his first PGA Tour event since February after a tour shutdown in March over the coronavirus pandemic, was battling more than Muirfield.

- Tiger in trouble -

The 44-year-old Woods, who said his back was bothering him even as he warmed up, had five bogeys and a double-bogey with just three birdies.

A solid finish, with two birdies and a par save in his final three holes, didn't do much to improve his outlook.

"Not very good," Woods said. "I three-putted two holes early, and whatever kind of momentum I was going to create, I stifled that early and fought it the rest of the day."

Woods was left facing a tense afternoon wait to see if his three-over total would make the cut.

The five-time Memorial winner has never missed a cut in 17 prior appearances in the tournament hosted by Jack Nicklaus.

Topics: Tiger Woods , PGA , Memorial Tournament , Tony Finau , Rory McIlroy
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