Sabbatini leads Memorial; Tiger 1 back

10:20 PM, Jun 1, 2012   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

Dublin, OH (Sports Network) - Rory Sabbatini posted his second straight three- under 69 Friday and owns a one-shot lead over Tiger Woods, and others, after the second round of the Memorial.

Sabbatini finished 36 holes at six-under 138 at a soggy Muirfield Village Golf Club.

Woods, a four-time winner, shot a three-under 69 and is tied for second place with Spencer Levin (72) and first-round leader Scott Stallings (73). The trio finished at five-under 139.

A win on Sunday for Woods would be significant. It would tie him with tournament host Jack Nicklaus for second on the all-time PGA Tour wins list with 73.

"We've got a long way to go for that," said Woods. "Yeah, obviously it would be nice, but I've still got half a tournament to go."

Woods played very well on Friday thanks to three birdies in his first six holes. He missed a six-foot birdie try at two and another missed short one temporarily derailed his round.

At the 11th, Woods missed a three-footer and that would have given him the lead at six-under par. One hole later, Woods pulled his tee ball into the gallery at the par-three 12th. He duffed his chip, then finally got on in three, albeit 13 feet past the hole. Woods missed the putt and walked off with a double-bogey.

He fell to three-under par, but Woods rebounded.

At the par-five 15th, Woods laid up with his second, but knocked his third to five feet. He poured in that birdie effort, then sank another five-foot birdie putt at No. 16.

Woods had a great look at a third consecutive birdie at 17, but missed. He holed a tough four-footer for par at the last to stay close to the lead.

"I missed a couple out there, but overall I knew in these conditions to shoot something in the 60s was going to be a pretty good effort," said Woods. "Pleased with my round."

Rory McIlroy couldn't be pleased with his round, or his play of late.

The former world No. 1 as far back as last week, McIlroy missed his third consecutive cut on Friday. The reigning U.S. Open champion shot a seven-over 79 in round two and missed the cut by a lot.

McIlroy had the weekend off at The Players Championship, but most chalked that up to his dislike of the TPC Sawgrass. Last week, he missed the cut at the BMW PGA Championship, the flagship event on the European Tour and lost his No. 1 ranking to Luke Donald.

Now it's a third straight missed cut. He's playing in Memphis next week, but this isn't the kind of preparation McIlroy was looking for to defend his title in two weeks at Olympic Club.

"I don't feel like the scores are actually reflecting how I'm hitting the ball," said McIlroy. "I'm definitely hitting the ball better than I did last week, so I can see an improvement there. But I've still got a long way to go."

McIlroy wasn't the only big-name player to miss the cut. The last two major champions, Masters winner Bubba Watson, and PGA Champion Keegan Bradley, both came up short.

A heavy storm halted play for almost two hours on Friday and Sabbatini played in the afternoon when the course was at its wettest.

Sabbatini opened with a bogey at the first hole, but got the stroke back thanks to a 12-foot birdie putt at the fourth. He bogeyed six after an errant drive forced him to lay up before the water at the par-four hole. Sabbatini was able to turn at even-par for the round due to a 13-footer for birdie at the ninth.

At the par-five 11th, Sabbatini laid up, then hit his third to 10 feet. He rolled in the birdie try to get to four-under par for the championship. An 11- foot birdie putt at the 14th, followed by an eight-foot birdie putt at 15 gave Sabbatini the lead to himself.

Sabbatini saved par at 16 and found himself in some trouble at the last. His drive landed in the right rough and he had a difficult stance. Sabbatini was able to knock his approach to six feet, but failed to cash in on the birdie chance.

A two-shot lead would've been nice, but Sabbatini was quite happy to be in first.

"It's only halfway, so I'm happy to be where I am right now, and I've got two more days ahead of me, and I've just got to continue to focus on what I've been doing for the last two days," said Sabbatini.

It's been a struggle of late for Sabbatini.

Since he won the Honda Classic in early March of last year, Sabbatini has only two top 10s.

"Obviously it's definitely been a challenge over the past couple months," said Sabbatini. "It's definitely felt like things have been there but just really haven't been putting the numbers up. Ultimately, golf is a game of numbers, so it doesn't matter how you hit it, it's how you score. So in that sense it's been frustrating, and it's great to finally see a little bit of reward for the work that we've put in."

Jim Furyk, who won this title in 2002, shot a four-under 68 Friday and is tied for fifth with Daniel Summerhays, who managed a one-under 71 in round two. The pair is knotted at four-under 140.

NOTES: Sabbatini has six PGA Tour wins and this is the sixth time he's held at least a share of the 36-hole lead on tour...He won three of the previous five times...Donald shot a one-over 73 and is tied for 27th at even-par...Defending champion Steve Stricker is in the mix after a two-under 70 on Friday left him at one-under par...The cut fell at three-over par.

 

The Sports Network

Most Watched Videos