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Woods and McIlroy scramble to make Memorial cut

ESPN staff
June 1, 2012 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Tiger Woods struggled for much of Friday's round © Getty Images
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Memorial Tournament leaderboard

Two late birdies enabled defending champion Tiger Woods to overcome a terrible start and ensure he made the cut at the Memorial Tournament, while Rory McIlroy had to wait until Saturday morning to put the finishing touches to a round of 69 to make the weekend.

Woods, beginning his day on the tenth tee looking to make progress after a mediocre opening round, three-putted from just five feet to run up a shocking double-bogey seven at the par-five 15th - leaving him precariously close to missing the halfway cut.

But birdies at the two front nine par-fives, the fifth and seventh, helped him make amends for that earlier disaster and post a second round of 74, good enough for a one-over par total and a passage into the weekend.

"It was tough conditions out there. And I didn't exactly play my best either," Woods said. "It was a little rough out there and it's not that hard to make bogeys and doubles on this golf course.

"You hit the ball in the wrong spot, get the wrong gusts, and we had some shots in our group that ended up in some interesting spots."

McIlroy, meanwhile, came back early on Saturday to play the final four holes of his second round and opened with a birdie at 15, but dropped shots at 16 and 17 left the Northern Irishman needing par down the last to scrape inside the cut line - which he achieved with a superb up-and-down.

Both Woods and McIlroy will need a stellar round on Saturday if they are to be in contention for the win come Sunday, with former FedEx Cup winner Bill Haas holding the 36-hole lead at nine-under par after a round of 67.

Woods finished level with playing partners Fred Couples and Keegan Bradley but all three sit ten shots behind Haas, who had five birdies and an eagle in an up-and-down round that gave him a single-shot lead over South African Charl Schwartzel.

"I was just trying to get to under par for the day for my round," Woods, a five-time winner at Memorial, added. "That obviously didn't turn out to be the case. And with a couple of holes left I felt like I had at least had a chance to get to even par for my round, and then I catch a huge gust on the last hole and barely get it over the water. All in all, I fought hard, and that's all I've got."

Kyle Stanley, at seven-under, as well as Matt Kuchar and Bubba Watson, both at six-under, are also in contention, while Justin Rose leads the British contingency after adding a second 70 to reach the halfway stage at four-under par.

Masters champion Adam Scott and Englishman Luke Donald were also among the players forced to finish on Saturday, both making the cut at one- and two-over par respectively.

Lee Westwood , who suffered a disheartening collapse at Wentworth last time out, withdrew from the event. The 40-year-old was hauled off the course with two holes to play and, at six-over par, had no chance of making the cut.

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