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    Tiger Woods holes out for eagle to stay in weekend mix at Muirfield despite balky putter

    Jun 2, 2018
    Tiger Woods is at 5-under, six strokes off the pace. AP

    DUBLIN, Ohio — Tiger worked his way into contention at the Memorial, despite his putter letting him down.

    He energized the crowd, too, with a brilliant eagle on the par-5 11th at Muirfield Village on Friday (Saturday, Manila time), a place where he's won five times.

    Woods' wedge shot from 97 yards out hit past the hole before spinning backward and rolling in. He raised his arms in triumph, pitched his club to the caddy and acknowledged the roar from the gallery.

    He carded a 67 for the day, but it should have been better.

    "I missed a lot of short putts, which is, you know, something I don't normally do, which is just frustrating," he said.

    Woods was at 5-under, six shots behind co-leaders Kyle Stanley and Joaquin Niemann.

    He was concerned about his repaired back, after tightness affected his game in the opening round. Despite a 90-weather delay after he eagled the 11th, he finished feeling fine.

    "It's weird to say, but this is my first delay this year," he said. "Coming back out of it I was a little worried how my back was going to feel. I was hoping the delay wouldn't be that long. I was pacing back and forth trying keep it loose, keep myself warm. There are things I don't know yet. This is new."

     

    PHIL'S FINE BACK NINE

    Phil Mickelson also bounced back into contention after a disappointing opening round.

    A 2-over 74 on Thursday left him buried and in danger of missing the cut. He recorded a pair of bogeys on the first nine holes Friday, but then birdied six of the last nine to finish with a 66. He's 4-under, seven off the lead.

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    "It's only nine holes. I don't want to put too much into it," Mickelson said. "But it's nice to have played well enough to make the cut, be able to play the weekend, keep working on my game and hopefully get sharper and sharper.  But the challenge for me is I feel like my game and ball-striking and all those things are sharp, but I haven't been sharp with my focus and picking a shot."

     

    THAT WORKED OUT WELL

    Bubba Watson was rankled at caddy Ted Scott after his first shot on the par-5 5th hole. Watson wanted to use his driver for the tee shot but Scott called for the 3-wood. Watson's shot left him with a hooking 228-yard shot to the pin.

    It ended up turning out OK.

    Watson hit a 4-iron to the green and then sank the 12-foot putt.

    "And after I made eagle, (Scott) said, do you still want to hit driver?" Watson said. "I said, well, I had to play the last two shots perfect to make up for your mistake off the tee."

    He finished Friday with a 67 and is 5-under.

     

    ARMOUR'S RIGHT AT HOME

    Ryan Armour, who grew up in Akron and played collegiate golf 17 miles down the road at Ohio State, made the cut for the first time at the Memorial.

    The 42-year-old Armour shot a 68 and a 70 to finish the day at 6-under. And he's seen some familiar faces in the crowd, including former Ohio State golf coach Jim Brown, who followed him around the course Friday.

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    Last year at Muirfield Village, he shot 76 in each of the first two rounds and was sent packing.

    "I didn't know what to expect," Armour acknowledged. "I had only played here one time before and played horribly. But I'm a different player over the last year, so I just went out with a game plan of fairways, greens and it's been working kind of all year.  And I holed some putts early in the round and I didn't keep it going late in the round, but I hung in there and salvaged some pars coming in. So happy where I'm at."

    His first career tour victory came in his 105th career start back in October at the Sanderson Farms Championship.

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    Tiger Woods is at 5-under, six strokes off the pace. AP
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