Wednesday 24 January 2018

Tiger forced to battle to make cut at Memorial

Tiger Woods waves to the gallery after making a birdie putt on the first hole at the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield in Ohio. Photo: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Tiger Woods waves to the gallery after making a birdie putt on the first hole at the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield in Ohio. Photo: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

William S Callahan

There was good news and bad news for Tiger Woods in The Memorial tournament at Muirfield Village.

The good news was that Woods maintained his record of always making the cut on his 15th appearance in Jack Nicklaus' prestigious tournament - but only just, as he had to hole a five-foot par putt to make it on the bubble at one-under par.

The bad news was that once again he had to grind hard and played inconsistently to his evident frustration at times before signing for a 70.

Some of his golf was reminiscent of his best, such as the great pitch on 11 to save par, and the 18-foot birdie putt he holed on the par-three 12th, and his 29-foot putt from off the green for birdie on the 14th.

There were some lovely drives, and some errant tee shots, and a few wayward approach shots, particularly on the closing holes.

But now that he is committed to a busy schedule, we may begin to see more of the Woods of old.

His achievement in finishing on 73 in the first round after starting with three bogeys in his first four holes, and throwing in a double-bogey on the 18th pleased him.


He will remain committed to working with coach Chris Como on perfecting his swing motion and he's prepared to put up with the stop-go nature of his game until he gets it right.

"I'm staying committed to what we're working on," was his message, and yesterday he got some reward, with five birdies - albeit they were diluted by his three bogeys - two of them on the 16th and 17th holes.

The lead was set early in the day by American-based Swede David Lingmerth at 12-under par. His 65 was impressive but not the best score of the day.

That honour belonged to England's Andy Sullivan who shot 64 to lie two shots off Lingmerth's standard and one behind second-placed Jason Dufner.

This was Sullivan's debut in The Memorial and he has made a big impression with that eight-under par, blemish-free round.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, perhaps it was not a big shock that another Swede led the field in the Nordea Masters being played at Malmo in Sweden.

The surprise element lay in the fact that Marcus Kinhult is halfway towards emulating Shane Lowry's 2009 achievement of winning a European Tour event as an amateur.

Kinhult, 18, is joint leader alongside Swedish pro Jens Dantorp on nine-under par following a second round 68 to add to his opening 67.

"It's pretty special to play a European Tour event - this is only my second time doing that. And to play at home in Sweden makes it even more special," said Kinhult.

Only three amateurs have previously won on Tour - Pablo Martin of Spain in the 2007 Estoril Open de Portugal, England's Danny Lee at the 2009 Johnnie Walker Classic and Shane Lowry in the Irish Open the same year.

Ireland's best performance came from Peter Lawrie whose 71 left him tied-13th on four under for the tournament. Lawrie went bogey-free in his first-round 69, and picked up three birdies. He notched up another three birdies in round two, but dropped two shots. Still, he can be pleased to have put two solid rounds together after missing the cut in the Irish Open.

Michael Hoey shot 68 for two-under overall, and Gareth Maybin was on one under with a round of 72.

Waterford's Kevin Phelan carded 72 for four over par and Damien McGrane's 71 left him on five over as they both miss the weekend.

Three Irish players survived the cut in the Swiss Challenge in Lucerne - Chris Selfridge and Gareth Shaw, who each shot 70 for one under par, and Michael McGeady, whose 70 placed him on level par.

Tournament leader Oliver Bekker of South Africa carded an impressive 66 for nine under.

Stephen Grant (72) and Ruaidhri McGee (76) missed the cut on two over and four over respectively.

Australia's Peter Fowler and Anders Forsbrand of Sweden lead the European Senior Tour's Acorn Jersey Open at La Moye on six under par. Both players scored 68 yesterday.

Des Smyth and Philip Walton each shot 72 for one over. Ronan Rafferty was on two over following a 70, while Denis O'Sullivan's 74 brought him to three over par.

Nordea Masters, live, Sky Sports 4, 12.30pm

The Memorial Tournament, live, Sky Sports 4, 5.30pm

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