Woods settles for a 67 after storm delay affects surge

DUBLIN (Ohio) • Tiger Woods ignited the crowd with a sensational hole out for eagle, but a storm delay dampened his charge at the Memorial where he was six shots behind halfway leaders Joaquin Niemann and Kyle Stanley.

Woods, a three-time champion at Muirfield Village, bounced back after three-putting his opening hole. He birdied four holes from the third through the ninth to make the turn at three under for the tournament.

With 97 yards to the flagstick at the par-five 11th, he landed his wedge shot some six feet behind the flag, fans roaring their delight when his ball spun back into the hole for an eagle.

"I had 97 yards and normally it is a 60-degree sand-wedge for me. But it was perfect with the slope there behind the flag so I took off about 15-yards on a 56 and I hit a little dead one in there," Woods said. "It just worked out perfectly."

The noise was so loud that many of his fellow competitors, including world No. 1 Justin Thomas, simply stopped play.

A surging Woods then hit the flagstick at the par-three 12th, but moments later play was suspended due to the threat of thunderstorms.

The former world No. 1 resumed play staring at a six-foot birdie putt but walked off with a par.

It was the first of three birdie putts he faced over his closing seven holes. He rolled in just one - a 12-footer for birdie at the par-five 14th - and he also dropped a shot after missing the green at the 17th and signed for a five-under 67.

"I did not putt well today. It could have been easily a nice little 62 or 63," said Woods who finished the day with a five-under total of 139.

He admitted that the first weather delay in his comeback from injury this season had him a little worried about how his surgically repaired back would respond.

"I was hoping the delay wouldn't be that long," he said. "I really didn't sit down as I was walking back and forth to keep it loose and keep myself warm because these are the things I don't know yet."

There were no such worries for 19-year-old Chilean Niemann (68), who closed with a birdie in his fifth start as a professional to join Stanley (66) on 11-under 133.

They were two strokes in front of South Korea's An Byeong Hun, who signed for a 67 for 135. Japan's world No. 10 Hideki Matsuyma and former world No. 1 Jason Day were among five players on 136.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 03, 2018, with the headline 'Woods settles for a 67 after storm delay affects surge'. Print Edition | Subscribe