Sluman keeps lead; Atwal makes cut - Shock exit for Vijai; Nicklaus may have played last round in the US

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By (REUTERS)
  • Published 5.06.05
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Dublin (Ohio): Riding on his overnight blitz, American Jeff Sluman managed to stay in the lead despite a second round one under 71 at the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio on Friday, one stroke clear of a large group led by Tiger Woods.

India’s Arjun Atwal continued his streak of fine form this season, making another cut (he has now made the cut in all appearances of the season), even with a par round, following up on his one-under first round. The cut was applied at 146, a figure at which world No. 1 Vijai Singh made a shock exit, stumbling to a two-over 74, missing the cut by a massive five strokes.

He started with the shock of two bogeys, on the second and the third, before recovering somewhat with a birdie shot on the fifth. The sixth set him back again by another stroke, the seventh was a birdie. This rock and roll continued, ? bogeys on the 13th and the 16th and birdies on the 15th and 18th. It meant all his effort came to a par score.

His total of 143, that tied him at 49th, was good enough to put him into the money rounds, tough.

Sluman, who began the day with a one-shot lead after a sizzling opening 65, maintained his advantage with a more modest effort at the Muirfield Village Golf Club, mixing two birdies with his only bogey through two rounds to sit on eight-under 136.

Lurking one shot back at 137 are Americans Woods, Jonathan Kaye, Harrison Frazar and Lucas Glover and Australian Nick ’Hern.

Playing for the first time since his record streak of 142 consecutive cuts at US PGA Tour events came to an shuddering end at the Byron Nelson championship three weeks ago, Woods was quickly back in familiar form, firing four birdies through his first seven holes.

But a bogey on the 17th, his first in two rounds, dropped the Masters champion from the top of the leaderboard leaving him with a tidy four-under 68, one shot off the pace and in contention for a fourth Memorial title.

After a disappointing opening round 73 defending champion Ernie Els of South Africa had his game back on track with a one-under 71 but will need to produce something special over the weekend if he is to challenge, sitting eight shots off the lead on even-par 144.

A three-time winner this season, it marked only the second time this campaign the hardworking Fijian Vijai Singh has failed to make the weekend. Tournament host Jack Nicklaus also failed to make the cut and made an emotional farewell, saying later that it was probably his final competitive round on US soil.