Originally created 05/31/97

Woods narrowly makes Memorial cut



DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) - Scott Hoch, a grinder on the golf course who wins with more spunk than skill, managed to do what Tiger Woods couldn't: Put up a good score at the Memorial Tournament while swinging badly.

Hoch hit his share of errant shots in Friday's second round, but he knocked enough irons close to the hole and made enough 15-foot putts to shoot a 7-under-par 65 and take the 36-hole lead with a 12-under 132, two strokes better than Tommy Tolles.

"I've been fooling a bunch of people, including myself, this week," Hoch said after missing his own 36-hole record for the tournament by one stroke. "I'd like to feel better about my game."

Woods knows that feeling. He shot a 75 - including a 42 on the back nine - and made the 36-hole cut with the highest possible number, a 147 that was 15 strokes behind Hoch. It was his highest round of the year by two strokes.

"I'm exhausted," Woods said. "This course beat me up."

Ironically, Woods could have been knocked out of the cut by Fuzzy Zoeller, the man who made racially insensitive comments about him after the Masters. Zoeller left a 12-foot birdie putt on the final hole an inch short or else Woods would have been heading home.

"My swing is just really not there," Woods said.

Woods, who has made 20 consecutive cuts - including all 18 since turning pro last August - shot a 33 on the front nine then fell apart down the stretch, making two double-bogeys on the back nine.

It was a stunning collapse on a damp day when the Muirfield Village course was ripe for the taking and many players took advantage of perfect scoring conditions.

Lurking three strokes behind Hoch was Vijay Singh at 135. Guy Boros was at 136 and Lee Janzen and Jim Furyk were at 137.

Jack Nicklaus, the tournament host and designer of the course, shot a 70 and was at 139, seven back.

Despite concerns about the state of his game, Hoch was happy with his position.

"I always like to be leading because then you don't have to catch up," he said. "You can afford a few mess ups."

Hoch shot a 31 on the front nine, including four consecutive birdies beginning at No. 5, and had a three-stroke lead until he three-putted the final green from 50 feet.

"My irons have been really crisp this week," Hoch said. "And when my irons are crisp and I make a lot of putts, that's when I score."

Woods was not able to take advantage of the ideal scoring conditions.

His only higher nine-hole score as a pro was a 43 on the front nine of the second round of the Tour Championship last October when he shot a 78 just hours after his father was hospitalized with chest pains.

That 78 is the only round in Woods' 68 as a pro higher than his 75 on Friday. The last time Woods missed a 36-hole cut was at the 1996 Masters when he was an amateur.

Woods started out like he was going to get back into contention. He hit every green on the front nine and got to 3-under-par. And it could have been better.

He three-putted the first green, leaving a 35-footer 7 feet short, and missed a 2-foot birdie putt on No. 5.

The back nine was a different story. The near-misses of the last few weeks - made up for by a brilliant short game - suddenly became wild misses.

He hit his second shot into the water on the par-5 11th and tried to play out, only to have the ball roll back in and ended up making a double-bogey 7.

On the par-3 16th, Woods pushed his tee shot into the right bunker then blasted the ball over the green into the high grass beyond. He took a big swing at the ball his lob wedge but went right under it, moving the ball only about a foot.

He then was fortunate to hit to 6 feet and made the putt for another double bogey.

The round ended with a one-putt bogey on 18 when he was again wild - this time left - and needed four shots to get onto the par-4 green.

"I just had some bad shots and made some mental mistakes," Woods said, showing the weariness of the frustrating round in his tired eyes.

"I think he's tired," Tolles said about Woods. "Three weeks of fame and fortune, I think it wears on you after a while."

Woods will have a chance to rest - and practice - before the U.S. Open in two weeks, his next tournament.

Tolles, a rapidly maturing player who has yet to win on tour, played solid golf and was positioned perfectly for the weekend.

"No bogeys," Tolles said after he made eight birdies, including six in an eight-hole stretch beginning at No. 8. "That's the key. No mistakes today."

Four of those birdies came on putts in the 15-20 foot range and one of them - on the par-3 12th - was a 50-footer.

DIVOTS: John Huston, who set the course record here last year with a 61, missed the cut with a 151. ... Singh has the longest active streak of cuts made at 36. The record is 113 by Byron Nelson. ... John Daly also slipped into the weekend rounds with Woods at 147 and the two long hitters will play in a threesome Saturday with Jeff Maggert. ... Peter Teravainen, who made a double-eagle on No. 11 when he holed a 3-wood from 254 yards, is the only player in the world who is a member of five professional tours. He belongs to the European, Australasian, Japan, Omega and Asian tours. The Yale grad, who was born in Plymouth, Mass., is not a member of the PGA Tour.