Tiger Woods four shots behind leader

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/g/golfgeneric.jpg' class='caption'> Tiger Woods hit back into contention at the British Open second round on Friday.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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A lost ball. A three-putt from 3 feet. Looks like another quirky British Open for Tiger Woods. The world's No. 1 player had his sights on leader Davis Love III after shooting a 1-over-par 72 yesterday. But Woods will have to overcome a pair of shocking misadventures at Royal St. George's. "It is a tough day, but all in all, I kept myself in the tournament," said Woods, who was four strokes behind Love. S K Ho of South Korea was two strokes back at 143. Thomas Bjorn of Denmark and Marco Ruiz of Paraquay also were at 1-over, but they had yet to complete the treacherous back nine. On Day 1, Woods lost his ball on the very first shot. On Day 2, he three-putted from 3 feet for a most un-Tigerlike double bogey. The meltdown at No. 12 ruined all his good work on the front nine. Woods made the turn with a 34, pulling within one stroke of Love. Woods completed the day at 3 over for the tournament. "I played well. I hit a lot of good shots, made a ton of putts," he said. "I just had one hole that was unfortunate." Love was the only player under par with the sun setting in southeastern England. He had a 1-under 143 midway through the tournament, grinding out a 72 that was good enough to seize the lead on a treacherous course that brought most players to their knees. Ho, who led at 4 under after a birdie at three and eagle at four, carded a 73 to go with his first round 70. "I called this morning and spoke to my parents and they told me it is a big news story in all the newspapers in Korea on the front page and I'm very happy with that," he said through an interpreter. Love, who has never seriously contended in his favourite major, struggled after the turn with three bogeys, but two of them were the kind that could help win on a treacherous course that Greg Norman described as "right on the verge of being ridiculous." Love made an up-and-down from a deep pot bunker at No. 10, then sank a testy 12-footer after needing two shots to escape another of those devilish traps. Another shot to remember: An errant drive at 14 was heading out of bounds, but it struck one of the white out-of-bounds markers and deflected back into play. "That was three good bounces used up in one hole," Love said. As the skies over Royal St. George's brightened and the wind off Sandwich Bay subsided, the field began to sort itself out. But if Woods is to win, he'll have to forget those devastating miscues and the memory of last year's British Open, when he was two strokes back heading to the weekend and shot 81 on a stormy day. It's his worst round as a pro. On Thursday, Woods knocked his very first shot into the rough - and never found the ball. He wound up taking a triple-bogey 7, putting himself in a deep hole before he barely had time to say fish and chips. Woods bounced back for a 73, making two late birdies, and carried that momentum into the second round as he sought to snap an 0-for-4 losing streak in the majors. This is the first time since 1999 that he doesn't hold any of the major titles. At No. 2, Woods stuck a wedge within 4 feet of the flag and sank the birdie putt. He reached the green in two at the fourth, a short par-5, and two-putted for another birdie. An 8-footer at the seventh pushed him into the red numbers for the first time, but it wouldn't last. Woods began the day five strokes behind Hennie Otto, an obscure South African who had to play 36 holes earlier in the week just to qualify. Otto, a part-timer on the European tour, didn't do well with the lead. He bogeyed the first hole, finished with a 76 and was passed by some more familiar names. Love was coming off a 69 in the first round, making him one of just five players to break par. Norman also had shot 69, but he wasn't able to turn back the clock again. The 48-year-old Shark, playing just his third tournament of the year on the same course where he won the 1993 British Open, soared to a 79 and faded from contention. "This course tests you," Norman said. Thomas Levet was in contention for the second year in a row at the British Open, having lost to Ernie Els in a five-hole playoff at Muirfield. A three-putt bogey at 13 was damaging, but the Frenchman was just three back after a 73. (AP)

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