Tony Finau and Ryan Palmer share lead at Memorial, Tiger Woods makes cut

Tony Finau and Ryan Palmer overcame slow starts to share the lead at the halfway point of the Memorial Tournament while Tiger Woods narrowly made the cut thanks to a seven-foot par putt.

Tony Finau hits from a bunker toward the fourth green during the second round of the Memorial golf tournament.   -  AP

Tony Finau and Ryan Palmer overcame slow starts to share the lead at the halfway point of the Memorial Tournament in Ohio on Friday while Tiger Woods narrowly made the cut thanks to a seven-foot par putt on his final hole of the day.

Starting on the back nine, overnight leader Finau struggled out of the gate with bogeys on two of his first three holes.

But momentum shifted his direction when he saved par with a greenside bunker shot out of an awkward stance on the par-three fourth that rolled within inches of the hole.

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He went on to birdie three of his final five holes and sits atop the leaderboard with Palmer at nine-under-par 135 heading into the weekend.

“I was very pleased to finish that way,” said the 30-year-old Finau, who is looking to capture an elusive second win after claiming victory at the Puerto Rico Open in 2016.

“At the end of the day, still at the top of the leaderboard. Pretty satisfied.”

His countryman Palmer suffered his first bogey of the tournament on his second hole but went error-free the rest of the way to card a 68 under sunny skies at the Muirfield Village Golf Club.

Woods, competing on the tour this week for the first time in five months, made two late birdies to salvage a four-over-par 76 that left him three over on the week.

Woods has back issue

Woods, despite playing in much easier scoring conditions than Thursday's opening round at Muirfield Village Golf Club, was visibly frustrated during a round in which he hit just five of 14 fairways and 10 of 18 greens in regulation.

“I wasn't quite moving as well as I'd like and couldn't quite turn back and couldn't quite clear. It was a bit of a struggle,” said Woods, who three-putted twice in his first four holes at the Jack Nicklaus-designed layout.

“It started this morning during the warm-up. It wasn't quite as good as I'd like, and it is what it is.”

Woods, who has had several back surgeries during his storied career, said it often happens that he can wake up feeling fine and then suddenly something goes wrong during warm-ups.

“Well, the last four or five years have been difficult as I've gone through procedures and have tried to come back,” said Woods. “It's going to happen more times than not.”

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The cut line settled at three over, giving the 44-year-old a chance to win a record-breaking 83rd tour title this weekend.

“Well, not very good,” Woods said, when asked to assess his round.

“I three-putted two holes early and, whatever kind of momentum I was going to create, I stifled that early and fought it the rest of the day.”

Woods added that his range of motion was limited on Friday by his surgically repaired back.

World number four Dustin Johnson struggled mightily on Friday, posting his second consecutive round of 80 for an unsightly 16-over par for the tournament after winning the Travelers Championship last month.

Bryson DeChambeau's second-round 76 included a quintuple-bogey 10 on the par-five 15th as he joined Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Justin Rose in missing the cut.