Scott Stallings made a welcome return to form with a 6-under 66 to take a one-shot lead into the second round of the Memorial Tournament after missing the last six cuts in a row.
It’s been a tough year for Stallings who has missed 10 cuts in total, and withdrawn from another tournament, meaning he has only finished three of 14 starts in 2012.06.01
But things are looking up for the American who rocketed to the top of the leaderboard after birdieing three of the last four holes of his round.
“It was a great start,” Stallings said.
“I definitely haven’t played very good up to this point. Lackluster would be an understatement.
“But I stayed positive all throughout being injured and stuff like that. I kept telling myself that it was only a matter of time before a round like this was coming around.”
Fellow Americans Spencer Levin and Erik Compton shot 67s to share second, while Australian Aaron Baddeley, South African Rory Sabbatini and Argentina’s Andres Romero were among a group of seven players on 69.
Four-time champion Woods is also in a decent position after birdieing three of the four par-fives on his way to a two-under-par 70, finishing four shotss behind Stallings.
“It was just a solid round today,” Woods said. “It certainly could have been a lot lower, but I’m pleased with the way I hit the golf ball today. I didn’t do anything great and I didn’t do anything poorly today.
“The golf course was playing quick and the fairways were starting to chase a little bit. The greens were somewhat receptive. It’s a hell of a test out there, really.”
World No 1 Luke Donald was relatively happy with his round, but is hoping for better in the rest of the tournament, after scraping an opening 71.
“Hopefully that’s my loose round out of the way,” said Donald
“I didn’t hit the ball well and I was scrambling a lot. But fortunately I putted pretty well, and I’m pretty happy with the score in the end. This course is tricky.
Rory McIlroy did well to shoot 71 in the end after needing to recover from a quadruple-bogey seven at the par-three 12th, his third hole of the round.
“It wasn’t the start that I wanted to get off to, being four over through three holes, especially after the last few weeks,” said the 23-year-old, who has missed the cut in his last two tournaments.
“I was just like, ‘Here we go again’. But I hung in there well, and proud of myself for the way I just fought back. To finish the round under par I thought was a really good effort.”