Haas takes early lead at Memorial, Woods labors to 74

Fri May 31, 2013 2:56pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

DUBLIN, Ohio (Reuters) - Rejuvenated by the recent birth of his first child, American Bill Haas rebounded from successive missed cuts on the PGA Tour to grab an early two-shot lead in Friday's second round at the Memorial Tournament.

While five-times champion and last year's winner Tiger Woods battled to a two-over-par 74 in gusting winds at Muirfield Village Golf Club, Haas putted superbly on lightning-fast greens to fire a five-under-par 67.

Though Haas bogeyed his final hole, the par-four 18th, after hitting his approach over the back of the green, he was delighted to take control of the PGA Tour event hosted by Jack Nicklaus with a nine-under total of 135.

"I've been very fortunate," Haas told reporters after mixing five birdies with an eagle at the par-five fifth and two bogeys to finish two shots ahead of compatriot Matt Kuchar (70).

Swede Robert Karlsson was at four under after shooting a 71, with Americans Pat Perez (69) and Hunter Mahan (68) a further stroke back.

"I hit a couple of loose shots. On number 11, the wind was right-to-left and I hit a provisional, I thought it was out of bounds there," said Haas.

"We got out there and it (his first tee shot) must have hit a tree and it was fine. I ended up making birdie. That was probably a three-shot swing there. A huge hole for me there."

Haas, who clinched his fourth PGA Tour victory at the Northern Trust Open in February but has missed the cut on his last two starts on the circuit, had bitter-sweet feelings over his bogey at the last.   Continued...

Bill Haas of the U.S. hits his second shot on the 13th hole during the second round of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio May 31, 2013. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan