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British Open 2013: Miguel Angel Jimenez leads after 2nd round
Woods plodded along most of the day, lipping out a putt from 2½ feet, missing another short putt and settling for a bunch of pars — 12 in a row until his final stroke of the round. Then, he looked like the Tiger of old, rolling in a 15-footer for birdie on Muirfield’s tough closing hole. He raised his putter toward the blue sky with a flourish, fully aware he was positioned again to break the longest major drought of his career.
“It will be a fun weekend,” said Woods, who also shot 71. “I was kind of fighting it.”
Everyone was. Westwood was among that minuscule group putting up a score in the 60s, but even he was staggering a bit by the end. After a brilliant front nine — he carded five birdies — the 40-year-old bogeyed three of the last six holes to finish with a 68.
The last English golfer to win the British Open was Nick Faldo in 1992.
Westwood wants to end that streak with his first major title.
“Why not enjoy it out there?” he said. “It’s tough for everybody. So smile your way through.”
Woods is trying to break a drought of his own. He’s 0-for-16 at majors since the 2008 U.S. Open, and missed four others during that stretch recovering from injuries.
Whoever wins this one will have to earn it. While the conditions look perfect for scoring, nothing like the miserable weather that struck the Open the last time it was at Muirfield in 2002, there weren’t many chances for going low. The greens were just too slick, the pin placements just too tough.
It was too much for old-timers such as Mark O’Meara, the 1998 Open champion who started with a surprising 67 that left him one stroke behind Zach Johnson after Day 1. The 56-year-old lost his ball at No. 6, leading to a double-bogey, and stumbled to the finish with a 78.
“It’s pretty simple: If you don’t hit it good in an Open championship with the rough the way it is out there, you’re going to make some bogeys,” O’Meara said. “The short game is key. You have to putt well. I did none of those well.”
Tom Lehman soared to 77 after opening with a 68. Todd Hamilton followed up a 69 with an 81.
The young weren’t spared, either.
Jordan Spieth, the 19-year-old who last weekend became the PGA Tour’s youngest winner since 1931, made only two bogeys through his first 32 holes and was 3 under. Then came a double-bogey at the 15th, back-to-back bogeys at the next two holes, and a missed chance at No. 18 when a 4-footer for birdie slid by the cup. Just like that, the youngster found himself at 1-over 143. He bent over in frustration alongside the green.
Rory McIlroy won’t even be around for the weekend. He finished at 12-over 154 after two miserable rounds, missing the cut. So did Luke Donald and U.S. Open champion Justin Rose, two British favorites who never got anything going.
Maybe they should try Jimenez’s routine.
By Tammy Bruce
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