Woods launches challenge but McIlroy stutters


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The Independent Online

Tiger Woods joined clubhouse leaders Scott Stallings and Spencer Levin at the head of the Memorial Tournament leaderboard in Dublin, Ohio on five under after a strong start yesterday.

Woods was three under for his first seven holes in Dublin, Ohio, opening with a birdie and then hitting his tee shot at the par-three fourth to just over four feet and rolling in the putt. He picked up his third shot of the day at the sixth but could only par the par fives either side of that.

Stallings had led after an opening 66 on Thursday but carded a one-over-par 73 yesterday, joining Levin on five under after the latter went round in level par.

Levin balanced out three birdies and three bogeys while Stallings bogeyed four of his first seven holes from the 10th, rescuing his round with birdies at 11 and 12 and two more thereafter before dropping another shot at the eighth.

Aaron Baddeley birdied the first and fifth to also reach five under for the tournament, leaving Daniel Summerhays one his own one shot back after a 71 marred only by a double-bogey six at the 17th hole, his eighth.

Troy Matteson (69) and Jonathan Byrd (70) were in the clubhouse at three under, joined by Rory Sabbatini after five holes, while Henrik Stenson and Lucas Glover carded 68s, the low rounds of the day so far, to reach two under.

The group in the clubhouse on that score also included Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson and Ryo Ishikawa as well as Eric Compton, who was level with Levin overnight but followed his first-round 67 with a 75.

Luke Donald was two under after putting an early bogey behind him with back-to-back birdies at seven and eight, Justin Rose finished his round on one over and Rory McIlroy joined him on that score after two bogeys in his opening eight holes.

Early estimates put the likely cut at three over, meaning work to do for Jason Day and Camilo Villegas, who were on that score in the early stages of their rounds, and United States Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III at four over.

Masters champion Bubba Watson looked to be on his way home having finished five over, while a 75 left Nick Watney hoping the field would come back to him sufficiently for his four-over total to see him through.

Meanwhile, Ross Fisher has dropped 130 places on the world rankings since he played in the last Ryder Cup, but he now hopes that the good times are back. Thanks to a five-under-par second round of 66 at Celtic Manor – scene of his memorable Ryder Cup debut two years ago – Fisher leads the ISPS Handa Wales Open at the halfway point.

"Hopefully, this will be the start of a big summer for me," said the 31-year-old, who has not had a single top-five finish for almost 18 months. "I guess it's the dreaded curse of the comedown from the Ryder Cup. You have such high expectations and it's been disappointing."