Tiger Woods worked his way into contention at the Memorial on Friday despite his putter letting him down.
He energized the crowd, too, with a brilliant eagle on the par-five 11th at Muirfield Village, 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 five under, six shots behind co-leaders Kyle Stanley and Joaquin Niemann.
Niemann is a 19-year-old from Chile in just his fifth pro start, and he already had a pair of top 10s on the PGA Tour. On a soft course yielding low scores, he made seven birdies to join Stanley (66) at 11-under 133.
They were two shots ahead of Byeong Hun An (67). Jason Day, who has never finished better than 15th at the Memorial, had another 68 and was three back.
Woods was concerned about his repaired back, after tightness affected his game in the opening round. Despite a 90-minute 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.”
Smith extends lead at U.S. Women’s Open
Sarah Jane Smith extended her lead at the U.S. Women’s Open to four strokes after a second straight five-under 67 at Shoal Creek in Birmingham, Ala.
The Australian got her round in before a 2-hour, 49-minute weather delay. The second round will be completed on Saturday with the low 60 scorers plus ties making the cut.
Smith opened the day in a three-way tie atop the leaderboard with Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn and Korean Jeongeun Lee. She’s at 10-under 134 heading into the weekend after failing to make the cut in five of her previous six U.S. Women’s Open tries.
Jutanugarn had an opening birdie to move to six under through eight holes. Lee fell back totwo under with a second-day 75. Korean-born Su-Hyun Oh shot 68 and is also at six under.