That other Rory – Rory Sabbatini – played his best golf in the worst weather Friday at the Memorial and made a surprising appearance atop the leaderboard.
Right behind him was a Tiger Woods that looked all too familiar.
Sabbatini played bogey-free over his final 12 holes, and despite missing a 5-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole, put together a 3-under 69 in the cool, blustery conditions at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio, to take a one-shot lead going into the weekend.
Woods looked strong for the second straight day, although he also had another double bogey that slowed his progress. What pleased him was controlling his ball in the wind for plenty of birdie chances that led to a 69.
“I hit the ball well all day, and it was a day that I needed to,” Woods said. “The wind was blowing out there, swirling in those trees, and it was just a tough day.”
It was plenty tough for Rory McIlroy.
The U.S. Open champion, who returned to No. 1 in the world four weeks ago, missed the cut in his third consecutive tournament. McIlroy was in good shape until a shot just outside a creek hit the bank and went backward into the water, leading to the first of two double bogeys on the back nine. He shot 79 and missed the cut by three shots.
“I’m definitely hitting the ball better than I did last week, so I can see an improvement there,” he said. “But I’ve still got a long way to go.”
Sabbatini was at 6-under 138, the highest score to lead the Memorial in 22 years.
Spencer Levin (72) and Scott Stallings (73) played in the morning and joined Woods at 5-under 139.
Jim Furyk, another former champion, matched the best score Friday with a 68, and was in the group only two shots behind.
Justin Hicks shot a 5-under 66 for the second day in a row at TPC Wakefield Plantation in Raleigh, N.C. to remain atop the leaderboard in the Nationwide Rex Hospital Open. Jim Renner was one stroke back at 9 under overall through six holes when play was suspended for inclement weather in the second round. Olympia’s Andres Gonzales was 1 over through eight holes Friday and 2 under for the tournament. Second round play will resume today. … Mike Goodes shot a 7-under 64 to take a two-shot lead at the Principle Charity Classic in West Des Moines, Iowa. Jay Haas, who won in Iowa in 2007 and 2008, leads a group at 5-under 66 that includes South African David Frost and former Masters champion Larry Mize in the Champions Tour event. … Englishman Ross Fisher took a two-stroke lead at the Wales Open after shooting a 5-under par 66 in the second round at Celtic Manor. Overnight leader Lee Slattery of England could only manage a par 72 to remain at 4 under at 138 for second. … Stacy Lewis and Mika Miyazato are tied for the lead after the opening round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic in Galloway Township, N.J. at 6-under 65 on the Bay Course at the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club. Paula Creamer and Mariajo Uribe are tied for third at 4 under.