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Carnage Continues at Blustery Blue Monster
High winds raised havoc with the elite field during the second round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship, the $9 million PGA Tour event on the totally revamped Blue Monster course at Trump National Doral in Miami.
After a two-and-a-half-hour rain delay Thursday limited only six players to complete their opening rounds, it was a long Friday as the 69-player field played catch-up.
Though they managed to finish the first two rounds, the results weren't pretty when the day was done. As a prime example, 18-hole pacesetter Patrick Reed somehow kept a share of the lead despite carding a 3-over 75.
The only other players under par through 36 holes - like Reed at 1-under 143 - are Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Hunter Mahan, who each posted 2-over 74s.
Only three players broke par in Friday afternoon's second round, and no one shot in the 60s. The low mark was a 70 by Welshman Jamie Donaldson, while the 71s by Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell and American Chris Kirk were the only other scores below the Blue Monster's par of 72.
At the other end of the spectrum were such exorbitant numbers as the 82 by former No. 1 Luke Donald, an 81 by French phenom Victor Dubuisson, 80 by 2010 PGA champion Martin Kaymer and 79s by reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, Jordan Spieth, and England's Lee Westwood.
Defending champion Tiger Woods actually improved on his first-round 76, posting a 73 that was aided when he sank a 91-foot birdie putt on the par-3 fourth hole (his 13th after starting play on the 10th). Along with three more birdies, the 79-time Tour winner had five bogeys to go into a tie for 25th.
Woods spoke for the field when he told ESPN.com's Bob Harig, "That was a tough golf course today." When asked to name the most challenging hole, he quipped: "1 through 18 right now. I don't know about the other players, but they were all pretty hard for me."
Woods kept a simple plan in such tough conditions. "Just grind it out. When we made the turn, I looked and there were only nine guys under par. Now there are two. So basically you've just got to hang around. We've all got a shot at it now. No one is going anywhere."
When asked about his long-distance birdie putt, he added, "It's just one of those things, I just tried to get the ball close. I can't remember the last time I made a putt from that far. Just one of those things."
Woods also remarked that there will likely be some criticisms of Friday afternoon's course set-up. "You just couldn't get the ball close," Woods said. "From that standpoint, it [the course conditions] was right on the teetering point. I think some of the guys will probably be pretty upset about some of the pins. But if they were in better spots, I think it would have been fine."
Sharing fifth at even-par 144 with McDowell and Donaldson are Italy's Francesco Molinari (75) and Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, who's carded rounds of 70 and 74.
Bubba Watson shot even-par 72 to tie for ninth with Zach Johnson (75) at 1-over 145, and another stroke back with Kirk are fellow Americans Brandt Snedeker (73), Harris English (77) and Jason Dufner (77), South Korea's Hyung-Sung Kim (74) and South African Charl Schwartzel (76).
No. 2-ranked Adam Scott, who with a victory this week could supplant Woods atop the world golf ranking, shot a 73 and is now at 4-over 148 with three others.
Playing alongside Woods and Scott, No. 3 Sweden's Henrik Stenson needed birdies on his final two holes for a 76 and a share of 25th with Woods.
Fifth-ranked Phil Mickelson has carded rounds of 74 and 75, and the Tour's only three-time winner this season, Jimmy Walker, had a second-round 77 to go along with his opening 73.
Americans Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker and Billy Horschel each opened with rounds of 77 and 78.
For all the scores, visit http://www.worldgolfchampionships.com/cadillac-championship/leaderboard.html.