Graeme McDowell leads at Riviera as Woods misses the cut
Rory McIlroy is lurking at five shots back while Tiger Woods struggled in second round
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland putts on the 12th green as Tiger Woods looks on during the second round of the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California. Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell carded seven birdies in a five-under round of 66 to shoot up the leaderboard at the Genesis Open as Tiger Woods missed the cut at Riviera.
McDowell, 38, sat tied for 17th after the first day’s play in California on 69, and opened Friday’s round with three birdies in a row.
He dropped a shot on each of the 13th and 14th and was two-under at the turn, but rallied with three more birdies including a 54-foot putt on the Par 3 fourth to go into a tie for the lead at seven under.
Play was suspended on the second round due to bad light, with American Sam Saunders tied for the lead through 15. Saunders and a number of other players will return on Saturday morning to complete their rounds.
They are joined at the top of the tree by American Patrick Cantlay who followed his round of 66 with a 69.
He went through the back nine on equal par but picked up shots including a 31-foot for birdie on the Par 3 sixth.
Speaking after his second round, joint-leader McDowell said that so far it’s been nice to see the work he has been doing off the course be backed up.
“It’s been much of the same stuff for the last four, five months. My numbers just haven’t been showing it. I opened up with three missed cuts this year but walking away from them saying tomyself, you know what, I’m really happy with what I’m doing,” McDowell said.
“I’m really happy with the progress I’m making and just stick to the process. We all love the word ‘process’, but all I’m missing is a couple little numbers and a little bit of confidence. I’m really excited to be going into the weekend of the tournament on the business end of things and really looking forward to getting back out there.”
On approaching the weekend in a position he hasn’t occupied in quite a while, McDowell says he will use all of the experience that has seen him claim 14 professional wins, including a major title at the US Open eight years ago.
“You know, super patient. I’ve got a lot of work to do this year, and it may not happen this weekend, but like I say, the way I’m practicing and the way I’m preparing myself off the golf course, it’s only a matter of time before good things start to happen. So really trying to go out there this weekend, try to play carefree golf, try to respect this golf course.”
Tiger Woods, returning to the Riviera Country Club for the first time in 12 years, missed the cut after following a round of 72 with a disappointing 76 on Friday.
His round included three birdies, including the sinking of a 21-foot putt on the Par 4 fifth, but he dropped shots on four of the last eight holes.
Rory McIlroy, who missed the cut at last week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, sits tied for 15th after going round in 69, two under for the round and the tournament.
McIlroy was in danger of letting his round get away from him after consecutive bogeys at the seventh and eighth cancelled out early birdies in his second round.
However, the four-time major winner rallied to make three birdies and just one bogey on his back nine, leaving him just five shots off the lead after two rounds and in a position to shoot up the leaderboard at the weekend.
Ireland’s Shane Lowry again hit a bogey train on the back nine of his second round – something that he has struggled with over the last few weeks. Cruising along at one under par for his round and inside the cut mark, Lowry then made five consecutive bogeys from the 11th to the 15th to crash out of the tournament with a six over par total.
He now moves on to next week’s Honda Classic which takes place at PGA National near where he is now living in Florida. Meanwhile, Pádraig Harrington faces a nervous wait for play to finish on Saturday after a second round 74 left him on two over par and right on the projected cut mark with a number of players still to finish their second rounds.
Woods’ disappointing play left the 14-times major champion at six-over 148, four strokes over the projected cut of two over par.
“I’ve just got to play more tournaments,” said Woods, making his second start of the PGA Tour season after a year-long absence following back surgery.
Still troubled by his driving and putting, Woods made only three birdies during his second round and had more bogeys than scores of par.
Despite his problems, the former world number one committed to play in next week’s Honda Classic in Florida, marking the first time in three years he has entered tournaments on back-to-back weeks.
“I need some tournament rounds,” Woods said of the event near his Florida home.
Despite the problems, Woods said he believed he was progressing in his comeback.
“I haven’t played golf in years,” he said. “I’m starting to come back and it’s going to take a little time. I am progressing, I’m starting to get a feel for tournament golf again. I just need to clean up my rounds.”
Woods’ troubles began on the front nine and went downhill when he had birdies around a bogey at the fourth hole before three bogeys in four holes from the sixth left him at two-over.
A birdie at 10 appeared to give him fresh hope, but it did not last.
“I thought I could pump a drive down there at 11 and get to it with an iron and turn the tide around and play a good solid back nine,” Woods said. “But I didn’t do it.”
Three successive bogeys and another at 16 followed, wiping out any hope of salvaging the round.
Poor putting did not help.
“Today was the first day I felt bad with a putter this year,” Woods said.
“I didn’t feel very good when I was warming up about putting.”
Collated Latest second round scores & totals in the USPGA Tour Genesis Open, Riviera CC, Pacific Palisades, California, United States of America (Irish in bold)
Play suspended due to darkness. 15 Players left to finish. Round 2 will resume at 07:15 am (local time)
135 Graeme McDowell (Nir) 69 66, Patrick Cantlay 66 69
136 Ryan Moore 68 68
137 Tony Finau 66 71
138 Derek Fathauer 68 70, Bubba Watson 68 70, Jamie Lovemark 68 70
139 Retief Goosen (Rsa) 68 71, James Hahn 70 69, Troy Merritt 68 71, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa) 72 67
140 Jason Kokrak 68 72, Alex Noren (Swe) 71 69, Austin Cook 74 66, Martin Kaymer (Ger) 73 67, Kevin Chappell 69 71, Tom Hoge 67 73, Aaron Baddeley (Aus) 72 68, Cameron Smith (Aus) 72 68, Justin Thomas 69 71, Rory McIlroy (Nir) 71 69, Bryson DeChambeau 71 69
141 Xander Schauffele 71 70, Phil Mickelson 70 71, Ryan Blaum 71 70, Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 70 71, Martin Laird (Sco) 68 73, Patrick Rodgers 70 71, Nick Taylor (Can) 71 70, Brandon Harkins 71 70, Jordan Spieth 71 70
142 Bud Cauley 70 72, Pat Perez 72 70, Vaughn Taylor 72 70, Sung Kang (Kor) 70 72, Branden Grace (Rsa) 70 72, Greg Chalmers (Aus) 73 69, Kevin Streelman 72 70, Jonas Blixt (Swe) 71 71, Vijay Singh (Fji) 72 70, Haotong Li (Can) 71 71, J.B. Holmes 71 71, Ryan Armour 71 71, John Huh 70 72, Tyrone Van Aswegen (Rsa) 70 72, Thomas Pieters (Bel) 71 71
143 Luke List 72 71, Adam Schenk 76 67, Harold Varner III 73 70, Benjamin Silverman (Can) 72 71, Kelly Kraft 71 72, Brendan Steele 72 71, Dustin Johnson 74 69, Talor Gooch 73 70, Peter Uihlein 70 73, Sean O’Hair 71 72, Luke Donald (Eng) 71 72
144 Charley Hoffman 75 69, Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 71 73, Adam Scott (Aus) 72 72, Matt Kuchar 73 71, David Lingmerth (Se) 73 71, Adam Hadwin (Can) 70 74, Martin Piller 72 72, Chez Reavie 68 76, Charles Howell III 74 70, Sang-moon Bae (Kor) 73 71, Paul Casey (Eng) 73 71, Padraig Harrington (Ire) 71 73
145 Peter Malnati 75 70, Scott Brown 72 73, Kyle Stanley 70 75, Aaron Wise 68 77, Lucas Glover 73 72, Robert Streb 75 70, Keegan Bradley 72 73, Danny Lee (Nzl) 73 72, Joel Dahmen 72 73, Ollie Schniederjans 74 71, Ernie Els (Rsa) 69 76, Cheng-Tsung Pan (Tai) 70 75, Kevin Tway 75 70
146 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 77 69, John Merrick 75 71, Cody Gribble 71 75, Geoff Ogilvy (Aus) 72 74, Parker McLachlin 71 75, Si Woo Kim (Kor) 72 74, Billy Hurley III 70 76, J.J. Henry 73 73, Jim Furyk 73 73, Jimmy Walker 72 74
147 Beau Hossler 72 75, Matt Every 72 75, Cameron Champ 75 72, Harris English 71 76, Fabian Gomez (Arg) 75 72, Marc Leishman (Aus) 74 73, Jhonattan Vegas (Ven) 77 70, Cameron Tringale 74 73
148 Tiger Woods 72 76, William McGirt 73 75, Ted Potter, Jr. 76 72, Wesley Bryan 70 78, Zecheng Dou (Chn) 74 74, Shane Lowry (Ire) 73 75, Billy Horschel 71 77, Kyung Ju Choi (Kor) 74 74
149 Brian Stuard 75 74, Martin Flores 75 74, Brian Gay 74 75, Andrew Landry 77 72, Smylie Kaufman 74 75, Brice Garnett 77 72, Jonathan Randolph 73 76
150 D.A. Points 75 75, Seung-hyuk Kim (Kor) 78 72, Stephan Jaeger (Ger) 78 72, Camilo Villegas (Col) 76 74
151 Daniel Berger 75 76, Chris Stroud 77 74, Whee Kim (Kor) 73 78
152 Tyler Duncan 74 78
156 J.J. Spaun 79 77
157 Vinnie Poncino 82 75, Charlie Beljan 80 77, Andrew Loupe 79 78