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Putting woes hold battling Tiger back at windy Memorial

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

By Mark Lamport-Stokes

DUBLIN, Ohio (Reuters) - Tiger Woods left himself with a mountain to climb in his bid for a sixth victory at the Memorial Tournament but said he was "not too disappointed" after carding a two-over-par 74 in Friday's second round.

The American world number one, the defending champion here at Muirfield Village Golf Club, struggled with his putting on slick greens in tough, windy conditions to finish at one-over-par 145, a distant 10 shots behind early leader Bill Haas (67).

"Tough conditions out there and I didn't exactly play my best either," Woods told reporters after bogeying his final hole, the par-four ninth, before trudging up the hill toward the imposing clubhouse.

"I'm just trying to get under par for the day for my round, and that obviously didn't turn out to be the case. I thought I had a good chance to at least get to even par for my round.

"The last hole I ended up making bogey. All in all, it was a day fought hard. I'm not too disappointed with it (his game). I'm not that far off. On a golf course like this, with the wind gusts like this, it's tough."

Woods missed only one fairway during the second round but hit just 10 of 18 greens in regulation and totaled 30 putts as he posted his worst score here after 36 holes since his tournament debut in 1997.

"It's a little rough out there," the 14-times major winner said after mixing two birdies with two bogeys and a double at the par-five 15th where he three-putted from just five feet.

"It's not that hard to make bogeys and doubles on this golf course. You miss it in the wrong spot, get the wrong gust, it's tough. We had a few shots in our group that ended up in special interesting spots."

SPECTACULAR CHIP-IN

Woods, who triumphed by two shots here last year after spectacularly chipping in for birdie at the par-three 16th, is known for his brilliant putting but even he struggled on the fast-running greens on Friday.

"I had a hard time with the speed," said the American, who has already won four PGA Tour titles this season in just seven starts. "They don't look that fast, but they're putting fast.

"They (putts) were moving all over the place. It's tough. You try and stay below the hole as best you can, but sometimes you have to get the ball on the green. It was kind of a little mental thing I was struggling with out there."

Though the fickle winds gusted up to up to 25mph on the challenging, Jack Nicklaus-designed layout, Woods felt good scores were still possible, as fellow American Haas proved.

"The way this golf course is playing right now, you have to take advantage of certain holes, the downwind holes for sure," he said. "Some of the par-fives are playing more difficult than others.

"But you can shoot a round under par here, you've just got to really play well."

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Frank Pingue)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130531/putting-woes-hold-battling-tiger-back-at-windy-memorial