Lytham St. Annes, England – Hoylake, England (SportsNetwork.com) - Tiger Woods would love to erase the first two holes from his score card. He has played the opening holes in 5-over par with three bogeys and a double-bogey.
The three-time Open champion also has 13 pars and a single birdie on the front nine. Those struggles have kept him from making noise this week.
Woods found the fairway off the first and second tees on Thursday and bogeyed both holes. On Friday, his opening tee shot was in the rough, of the 18th hole. He chipped back to the first hole, but was in the right rough.
From there, he scrambled for double-bogey. Woods went over the second green from the rough, and missed an 8-foot par putt to dip to even-par for the championship.
After his rough start on Friday, Woods ran off 14 consecutive pars from the third at Royal Liverpool. Woods knocked his tee shot out of bounds on the 17th before getting up and down on the 18th for his first birdie of the day.
"I didn't hit the driver very good today. I was trying to be a bit more aggressive with the wind the way it was. I could take some bunkers out of play, and get it down there where I had sand wedge into the green," Woods said. "I figured today would be the chance I could go out there and be aggressive and do that. I just didn't drive it well."
Woods, who won the last time the Open Championship was at Hoylake in 2006, is playing his first major of the year after back surgery in March. He missed the cut in his first start back after surgery at the Quicken Loans National.
GARCIA BUCKS RECENT TREND IN MAJORS
Sergio Garcia has had seven top-10 finishes in 17 Open Championship starts, but in the last five majors, he doesn't have a top-20 finish.
Garcia tied for 21st last year at Muirfield, and that is his best finish in the last seven major championships. This week, he is contending much like he did in 2006 at Hoylake.
The Spaniard opened with a 68 and followed with a 70 in round two. He opened with a bogeys at one and three, but in between, he holed his second shot for eagle on the par-4 second. Garcia also holed out for eagle on No. 2 in 2006.
Garcia birdied the par-5 fifth for the second day in a row. He bookended his back nine with birdies on the par-5s, 10 and 18, but dropped a shot at 14.
"The wind was totally different from yesterday, but it was kind of similar to Wednesday, but obviously much stronger. It made some of the holes play quite tough," said Garcia, who played in the final group in the final round in 2006 with Tiger Woods.
MOLINARI BROTHERS BOTH CONTENDING
One of the early storylines on Thursday was how well players in the same groups were playing. That included Edoardo Molinari and Brooks Koepka, who both shot 68 in round one. Friday continued the battle of the Molinari brothers.
Edoardo stumbled to a closing bogey to dip to 3-under par for the championship, while his brother, Francesco, posted a 70 to end two rounds tied for third place at minus-6.
After they both opened with 68s, Edoardo fell off the pace with three bogeys over his first 10 holes. He flew back up the leaderboard with three straight birdies from the 12th.
Suddenly, Edoardo was at 4-under par and within a couple shots of the lead.
Francesco bogeyed the first for the second straight day, but bounced back with three birdies in the next four holes to climb to 6-under, where he briefly grabbed the lead.
After a pair of pars, Francesco lost his tee shot out of bounds on the eighth and that led to a double-bogey. He also bogeyed the ninth to dip to minus-3. A birdie on the 10th move him back alongside his brother at 4-under.
Edoardo stumbled to a bogey at the last, however. Francesco rallied towards the lead with birdies at 13 and 14. He parred the last two.
Francesco, who has three European Tour wins, tied for ninth last year at the Open Championship and that was his best major championship finish. Edoardo, who owns two European Tour titles, shared 11th at the 2011 Masters for his best finish in a major.
* For the first time in Open Championship history, players are going off split tees and in threesomes on Saturday due to expected thunderstorms. The first group is slated for 4 a.m. ET.
* There have been 14 rounds of 69 or better in each of the first two rounds.
* Rory McIlroy matched Tiger Woods' start from 2006 at Hoylake with consecutive 66s. However, Woods only led by one after two rounds and won the title by two strokes.
* Woods' 77 on Friday was his highest score at the Open Championship since a third-round 81 in 2002.
* Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker are the only two players that have finished in top 10 at first two majors. Fowler is tied for third at 6-under, while Walker is two strokes back at minus-4 and he is tied for 12th.
* The toughest hole in round two was the par-4 seventh, which averaged 4.40 strokes on the day. It has also been the most difficult through two rounds averaging 4.42 strokes through 36 holes.
* The par-5 fifth was the easiest hole in the second round as it averaged 4.62 strokes. Through two rounds, the par-5 10th has been the easiest hole as it averaged 4.61 strokes for the first two days.