Woods: from 103rd to 17th, 6 off lead

By wire services
Published July 2, 2005

LEMONT, Ill. - Most of the moving and shaking took place at the top of the Western Open's leaderboard.

Look a little further down, though, and there's a guy who could produce the biggest shakeup of all.

Tiger Woods rebounded from the dismal first round that had him at the edge of the cut line, shooting 5-under 66 Friday to put himself within range of the leaders.

"Hopefully they won't run away from me," he said after his morning round. "And I can go ahead and play a good round tomorrow and get myself back in it."

Woods was six strokes behind leader Chris Couch, who played at Florida. Couch shot 4-under 67 and was at 9-under 133. Woods was tied for 17th after starting the day tied for 103rd.

Duffy Waldorf (65), Tim Herron (66) and Jim Furyk (70) were one stroke behind Couch. Ben Curtis, who shared the first-round lead with Furyk and Todd Fischer, was two off the lead after par 71. Fischer (72) was at 136 with Steve Flesch.

"It's still a long tournament," said Couch, who earned a spot by winning the Nationwide Tour's LaSalle Bank Open last month. "I'm trying not to think too far ahead. I'm going to take it shot by shot and keep trying to have some fun."

Woods hit 11 of 18 greens Friday, the same as he did Thursday. But he needed only 23 putts, six fewer than he took in the first round.

"I didn't hit the ball that bad (Thursday), I just got nothing out of it on the greens," he said. "I felt like I had my speed back today."

LPGA: Annika Sorenstam made sure she hit her 30-foot birdie putt hard enough on the third extra hole with Tina Barrett.

"I said to myself, "I better get it to the hole this time,"' Sorenstam said. "I'd been short all day, all week really."

Sorenstam judged the speed and break perfectly, holing the putt to beat Barrett in 21 holes in the second round of the HSBC World Match Play Championship in Glandstone, N.J.

"I had a lot of putts on the edges again," said Sorenstam, who also struggled with Hamilton Farm's rain-softened greens in her opening victory over Joanne Morley. "It wasn't until that last putt that I really had one go in."

Coming off a 23rd-place tie in the U.S. Women's Open, Sorenstam overcame three two-hole deficits before taking her first lead with a conceded par on the par-3 17th. The Swedish star needed only to halve the par-4 18th to win, but bogeyed the hole - missing an 8-foot par try - to send the match back to No. 1.

Sorenstam advanced to face No. 48 Rachel Hetherington, a 5-and-4 winner over Mi Hyun Kim, in the third round today. The quarterfinals follow this afternoon and the semifinals and final are Sunday.

While Sorenstam avoided an upset in her bid for her seventh victory in 10 events this year, second-seeded Cristie Kerr and No. 4 Paula Creamer of Bradenton were eliminated.

The top-seeded Sorenstam and No. 8 Candie Kung - both in the upper bracket - were the only players seeded 12 or higher to survive the first two rounds. In the lower bracket, No. 14 Wendy Ward was the only player in the top 29 left.

CHAMPIONS TOUR: Ron Streck isn't a household name on the Champions Tour. He is, however, the answer to a trivia question.

Streck, the first player to use a metal wood in competition on the PGA Tour, had 9-under 62 and held a two-stroke lead over Craig Stadler in the opening round of the Commerce Bank Championship in East Meadow, N.Y.

Dave Eichelberger, Wayne Levi, Darrell Kestner and Gary McCord had 65 as 51 players in the field of 78 broke par. The average score in the opening round was a tournament-record 69.65, a stroke off the tour-record 68.34 set this year at the par-70 the Moors at the Blue Angels Classic.

EUROPEAN PGA: Thomas Bjorn shot 3-under 69 to share the lead with Jamie Donaldson at the European Open in Straffan, Ireland.

Bjorn and Donaldson, who shot 70, were at 5 under through two rounds. Darren Clarke, Jonathan Lomas, Graeme Storm, Anders Hansen and Brett Rumford were one stroke back.

Defending champion Retief Goosen posted 74, two shots off the lead. U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell shot 72 and was 2 over for the tournament.

NATIONWIDE: Bubba Dickerson shot 68 in the second round of the Lake Erie Charity Classic to take a two-stroke lead over Boo Weekley. Estaban Toledo was three shots back.

JUNIORS: Area scores after the first round of the Mission Inn Florida Junior Golf Invitational Tournament in Orlando: Boys - Chad Fleming, Seminole, 14, 80; Evan Jensen, Belleair, 15, 76; Will Main, St. Petersburg, 18, 84; Girls - Tara Allen, Brooksville, 18, 84; Rachel Edwards, Seminole, 16, 73; Andrew Messer, Belleair, 14, 70.

AMATEURS: Two teams qualified at Shalimar Pointe Country Club to advance to the 43rd Florida State Four-Ball Championship at Grand Cypress Golf Club in Orlando July 16-17. Frank Bertucci and Tim Bertucci, both from Gulfport, shot 69 to earn medalist honors. The Shalimar team of Fred Gross and Rusty Napier qualified after making birdie on the second playoff hole to secure the final qualifying spot.