Charl Schwartzel made the most of an early start to move within
a shot of leader Bill Haas on Saturday morning during the
completion of the rain-delayed second round of the Memorial
Rory McIlroy needed to rally to get up and down from 45 yards
just to make the cut.
Play was suspended for the third time on Friday night with 42
players still on the course. Haas, who followed an opening 68 with
a 67 before the heavy weather came in, was safe and secure in his
hotel with a three-shot lead overnight.
First-round leader Schwartzel began play on the 16th hole
Saturday with a par, then birdied the final two holes to put the
finishing touches on a 71 that left him at 136.
”I thought if I could somehow get one back and get my round
back to even, I’d be very happy,” he said. ”I managed to make two
(birdies), coming up 17 and 18. I’m very pleased with the way it
Kyle Stanley played his final four holes on Saturday morning and
was another shot back at 137. Next came Matt Kuchar and Bubba
Watson at 138. Watson had to complete a 67. Robert Karlsson (71),
Scott Stallings (70) and former Memorial winner Justin Rose (70)
shared sixth place at 140, five shots behind Haas.
McIlroy had opened with a 78 and knew he needed to go low just
to stick around for the weekend. He was 4 under for his round
through 14 holes when the third suspension of play finally brought
the players in on Friday night. When he returned in the morning he
birdied the 15th, but then had bogeys at 16 and 17.
Needing a par to make the cut, he hit his drive on the closing
par-4 into a deep trap, then spun his approach shot off the false
front and it ended up 45 yards short and below the green. But he
chipped to 4 feet and made the putt to salvage par.
He slammed his club into his bag as he was leaving the
”Bogeying 16 and 17 wasn’t really the plan. And obviously
having to make one up and down at the last,” McIlroy said. ”I’m
happy to be in on the weekend with a couple of rounds to work on
things. But I need to commit more to my shots and not guide the
ball as much, I guess – just let it go.”
One player who didn’t have to worry about returning to the
course was five-time Memorial winner Tiger Woods. He never could
get anything going and surprisingly had problems on the par 5s,
shooting a 74 to stand at 1-over 145.
”Tough conditions out there and I didn’t exactly play my best
either,” said Woods, who had to battle gusting winds but still is
only even on the par-5 holes over 36 holes. ”It’s not that hard to
make bogeys and doubles on this golf course. You miss the ball in
the wrong spot, get the wrong gust, it’s tough.”
Haas, playing in just the fourth group off the tee on Friday,
took advantage of conditions without a lot of wind and with little
or no precipitation. He opened with three pars and then went
birdie, eagle, birdie. He would have had an even bigger lead but he
needed three to get down from over the green on his last hole.
The tournament, the course, and the legend behind both, Jack
Nicklaus, have meant a lot to the Haas family, especially Bill.
”I caddied here for my dad when I was in college and loved
it,” he said. ”Mr. Nicklaus gave me a sponsor exemption when I
first turned pro to play in this event. It’s something I’ll never
forget. It meant a lot to me.”
Back in the days when Haas caddied for his dad, who now plays on
the Champions Tour, he always brought home a memento.
”I used to always get a T-shirt here every year I came,” said
Haas, who is at 9-under 135 after rounds of 68 and 67. ”I do have
tons of Muirfield Village T-shirts. They have the softest
Now, as is often the case, the course will also have soft
greens. Heavy rains resulted in a round being interrupted for the
40th time in the tournament’s 38 years – more than one of every
four rounds played.
Play was suspended for 22 minutes earlier on Friday, then for 1
hour and 27 minutes later. A major storm front then hit the area,
stopping play early in the evening.
Kuchar’s 70 featured four birdies and included two bogeys, one
on his final hole also.
He said the conditions made everything a trial – and he avoided
the biggest storms.
”This course is hard without wind. It’s difficult and
challenging on a normal day,” he said. ”Putting is challenging.
These greens are similar to Augusta National. You throw in 20-plus
mile-an-hour winds and it becomes really difficult.”
Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old Chinese eighth-grader, shot 79 on
Friday after an opening 72 and missed the cut.
Third-round play began under threatening skies soon after the
completion of the second round.
Getting through the third round might be difficult as well. A
line of storms is expected Saturday afternoon and into Sunday