Jim Furyk and Tiger Woods each carried momentum into the second round of the Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio. That meant the best 36-hole score for Furyk in his PGA Tour career, and the worst start for Woods in nearly four months.
Furyk had another good day with the putter, making a few birdies early and saving par from the bunker four times on the back nine at Firestone for a 4-under 66 and a two-shot lead over Rafa Cabrera-Bello of Spain.
It helped that Furyk opened with a 63 on Thursday afternoon, allowing him to turn around and play Friday morning with some momentum. It started early with a tricky birdie putt on the second hole and continued with a 20-foot birdie on the ninth.
“I thought it was key to get off to a nice start and see some putts go in,” Furyk said. “Made a good birdie putt at (No.) 2, and saw some birdies go in on the front nine, good putt at 9, and off to the races.”
He finished at 11-under 129, two shots clear of Cabrera-Bello, who shot a 65. Louis Oosthuizen used his putter from just off the ninth green to finish with a birdie and a 65, leaving him three shots behind going into the weekend of this World Golf Championship event. Jason Dufner had a 66 in the afternoon and was four shots back.
Woods, a seven-time winner at Firestone, can’t seem to get anything going.
He threw away three shots on the back nine Thursday, the last one a three-putt on the 18th hole for a 70. He started his second round by driving into a bunker and making a bogey on the 10th hole, and it never got much better. For the second straight day, he had to lay up with his third shot on the par-5 16th. And the low point of his putting woes came on No. 7, when he stuffed his tee shot inside 5 feet and three-putted for bogey.
Woods had a 72 and was at 2-over 142, leaving him 13 shots behind on the course where he had never finished worse than fifth the first 11 times he played. It was his highest 36-hole score to par since his 3-over 145 start at the Masters.
Alexandre Rocha had seven birdies and an eagle to take the second-round lead in the Reno-Tahoe Open. The 34-year-old Brazilian, winless on the PGA Tour, had 24 points in the modified Stableford scoring system for a two-point lead over J.J. Henry and John Mallinger. First-round leader Andres Romero and Arjun Atwal were tied with 21 points. … Gil Morgan shot his age – a 7-under 65 – for a share of the first-round lead in the Champions Tour’s 3M Championship in Blaine Minn. Morgan is tied with Chien Soon Lu, Steve Pate and Peter Senior. One shot back are Joel Edwards, Tom Jenkins and Mark McNulty. … Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn successfully defended her title in the Junior PGA Championship in Fort Wayne, Ind., and Robby Shelton of Wilmer, Ala., won the boys division. … Olympia’s Andres Gonzales fired a second-round 7-under 64 and is tied for 22nd at the Web.com Tour’s Cox Classic in Omaha, Neb. The Capital High graduate is eight shots behind leader Luke Guthrie (63). University Place’s Michael Putnam shot a 2-under 69 but missed the cut with his two-round total of 4-under 138.