Date: August 15, 2009
Author: Sportal and PA Sport

Tiger in control as Jones moves up

Australian Brendan Jones moved into contention at the halfway mark of the US PGA Championship, but Tiger Woods is still the man to beat at Hazeltine National Golf Club. The consistent Jones had a bogey and a birdie on his front nine before a superb eagle on the par-4 14th on his way to a two-under-par 70 to move up to three-under overall, four shots behind Woods. The New South Welshman is in a five-way tie with two-time winner Vijay Singh, US Open champion Lucas Glover, Padraig Harrington and Ross Fisher, who shot a superb four-under 68. Geoff Ogilvy remains in touch at even-par and he is joined there by Robert Allenby, who lost ground after a three-over 75. Nathan Green (+3), Richard Green (+4) and Michael Sim (+4) were the only other Australians to make the cut, while New Zealander David Smail will also be playing the weekend after finished his second round at four-over. Stuart Appleby, Mathew Goggin, Aaron Baddeley, Steve Elkington, John Senden, Rod Pampling and Adam Scott, who finished at 17-over-par, all failed to make the +4 cut. Woods sank three birdies in a row on the back nine of his second round but closed with a bogey en route to a two-under-par 70. The world No.1 now leads the field by four shots having once again won his duel with defending champion Harrington, who suffered three bogeys in a row on his back nine and also bogeyed the last for a one-over 73. Woods has won all eight majors he has led at the halfway stage and with a four-shot lead the odds are shortening on a 15th major victory of his career to move closer to Jack Nicklaus&apos record of 18. Asked if he was now in a position to run away from the field over the final two rounds, Woods replied: “I don&apost know, there&aposs a long way to go, 36 holes. I&aposll just keep plodding along.” “That&aposs what I did today, I got off to a poor start but I just hung in there and that&aposs what I&aposll do tomorrow and we&aposll see what happens.” “It was a tough day out there, the wind was blustery, the greens were bumpy and it was a little bumpy all round.” Woods had held a one-shot overnight lead over Harrington having shot an opening five-under-par 67 at the 7,674-yard Minnesota course, with Singh a further stroke behind at three-under in a group tied for third. A morning level-par round of 72 by the Fijian in favourable conditions left Woods still in charge as they began in the later wave of starters with the wind picking up considerably. Woods and Harrington were trading blows for the third day in a row, the American having prevailed on the last day of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the first day at Hazeltine. Three-time major winner Harrington, though, was quickly back on level terms on Friday as the four-time US PGA champion bogeyed the first. Graeme McDowell and Alvaro Quiros both joined the lead at four-under as Harrington dropped a shot, bogeying the first par-five of the day, the 633-yard third, before rebounding with a birdie two at the fourth. Both Northern Irishman McDowell and Spaniard Quiros faded while Woods moved back into the outright lead with a 15-foot birdie putt at the sixth. Harrington birdied the ninth to close the lead on Woods, who then fell back into a tie with the Irishman at five-under after leaving his approach shot at the 10th short on the lower tier of the green, from where he three-putted. England&aposs Fisher had started well, getting to two-under after he birdied three of his first four holes to go out in 33 and he added three more at the 13th, 14th and 16th to get to five-under and into a tie with Woods, only to fall off with his poor finish of bogey, bogey. “In some ways I&aposm disappointed, but overall delighted,” was Fisher&aposs verdict. “I felt like I hit the ball fantastically well today.” “At the same time, to finish bogey, bogey always leaves a little bit of a sour taste. But I&aposm still in there with a good shout with 36 to go.” Harrington&aposs three bogeys in a row left him at two-under but he staged a rally that began with a birdie at the 14th and when they got to the 642-yard par-five 15th, the Irishman sent in a magnificent three-wood approach shot from a fairway bunker 300 yards out to within 15 feet of the hole. Woods was relentless, though, his birdie taking him to minus seven while Harrington&aposs eagle putt agonisingly lipped out and his birdie kept him three shots back but in outright second place. Then came the closing bogeys, Woods retaining his four-shot lead in the process. England&aposs Ian Poulter fought his way to a 70, leaving him on two-under at the halfway stage of the tournament, with Northern Ireland&aposs Rory McIlroy on level par after a 73, McDowell and Quiros both falling away dramatically to finish at one-over after a 75 and 76 respectively. South African duo Ernie Els and Tim Clark both shot the day&aposs low score of four-under 68 among the early wave. Els moved to one-under-par, Clark to level par. World No.2 Phil Mickelson shot a second consecutive 74, his four-over-par total enough to make the halfway cut. US PGA Round 2 -7: Tiger Woods 67 70 -3: Vijay Singh 69 72, Brendan Jones (Australia) 71 70, Lucas Glover 71 70, Ross Fisher 71 70, Padraig Harrington 68 73 -2: Ian Poulter 72 70, Lee Westwood 70 72 -1: Ernie Els 75 68, Soren Kjedlsen 70 73, Y E Yang 73 70, Martin Kaymer 73 70 E: John Merrick 72 72, Grant Sturgeon 73 71, Geoff Ogilvy (Australia) 71 73, Tim Clark 76 68, David Toms 69 75, Corey Pavin 73 71, John Mallinger 73 71, Rory McIlroy 71 73, Robert Allenby (Australia) 69 75, Kenny Perry 74 70, Henrik Stenson 73 71, Rory Sabbatini 74 70, Hunter Mahan 69 75 Also: +3: Nathan Green (Australia) 72 75 +4: Richard Green (Australia) 75 73, David Smail (New Zealand) 75 73, Michael Sim (Australia) 73 75 +5: Stuart Appleby (Australia) 74 75, Matthew Goggin (Australia) 69 80, Aaron Baddeley (Australia) 76 73 +6: Steve Elkington (Australia) 75 75, John Senden (Australia) 73 77 +8: Rod Pampling (Australia) 74 78 +15: Michael Campbell (New Zealand) 80 79 +17: Adam Scott (Australia) 82 79