'Frustrated' Woods struggles to find form with putter
Tiger Woods diced with death as he birdied his final hole of the second round to sit right on the projected cutline at the Wells Fargo Championship in North Carolina yesterday.
The former world No 1, who started on the back nine, made his only birdie of the day when he rolled in a 13-footer at the par-four ninth for a two-over-par 73 that left him at two-over for the week at Quail Hollow.
Woods, playing his seventh tournament since returning to competition this year from spinal fusion surgery, made his third bogey of the day when he three-putted from 15 feet at the par-three sixth to fall outside the cutline with three holes left.
After missed chances over the next two holes, Woods finally put an end to his putting woes when he rolled in a clutch birdie putt at the last.
"I certainly was frustrated, there's no doubt about that. I missed so many putts," Woods told reporters after a round that included 33 putts.
"But you have got to put it behind and move on to the next one and hit the next shot with just as much commitment."
After three bogies and a double-bogey on the back nine, Rory McIlroy carded a 76 to leave him two-over par for the tournament , but just inside the cut-mark.
Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry also finished on two-over with rounds of 73 and 70.
Waterford's Seamus Power entered the clubhouse a shot futher back after an even-par 71.
Meanwhile, Ardglass' Cormac Sharvin followed his opening 65 with a 75 to slip five shots behind pacesetter Julien Brun of France at halfway in the Challenge de Espana at Izki Golf.
The former Walker Cup star is tied for seventh on four-under-par with Derry's Ruaidhri McGee (70) and Galgorm Castle's Michael Hoey (71) two shots further back in 22nd.
Brun carded eight birdies in a six-under 66 to lead by two shots on nine-under from Poland's Adrian Meronk as the rest of the Irish missed the one-over-par cut.
Clandeboye's Jonny Caldwell shot 72 to miss out by one stroke but Naas' Conor O'Rourke missed by two after a 74 with Whitehead's John Ross Galbraith seven shots further back after a 78.
In amateur golf, Rosslare's John Brady is tied for second place, just two strokes behind England's Billy McKenzie after he stormed to the turn in four-under 40 en route to a two-under 68 in the Lytham Trophy at Royal Lytham & St Annes. Dundalk's Caolan Rafferty is just three shots off the pace in 10th after a 69 with Massereene's Tiarnan McLarnon (71) and Dún Laoghaire's Colin Woodroofe (72) the next best of the Irish.
Lisburn's Paula Grant shot a level-par 73 to share eighth spot after the opening round of the Welsh Ladies Open Stroke Play at Aberdovey with Ballinrobe's Shannon Burke tied for 15th after a 74. Grant is four shots behind England's Sophie Lambe, who shot a four-under 69 to take a one-stroke lead.
Meanwhile, Leona Maguire has won the ACC Golf Player of the Year for the third time after another stellar year with Duke University.
At the Golf Sixes tournament in St Albans, Paul Dunne and Gavin Moynihan start the first of their group-stage matches against Scotland this morning before clashes with France and Italy. The Irish duo can make tomorrow's knock-out stages if they finish top two of their group today.
Elsewhere, the Rory McIlroy effect has forced The R&A to make next year's Open Championship at Royal Portrush an all-ticket affair with sell-out crowds expected for the first of three stagings.
- Wells Fargo Championship, Live, Sky Sports, 6.0