Stricker Defends His Memorial Title

Steve Stricker got his putter going Friday and soared up the leaderboard at the Memorial Tournament outside Columbus, Ohio, where he is defending champion.

"I made some putts coming in," Stricker said afterward.  "Something I haven't been doing for awhile.  But I made three putts coming in and got myself right back in there."

After two rounds, Stricker stands at 1-under par, five shots behind the "other" Rory - as in Sabbatini - who leads at 6-under after shooting a pair of 3-under 69s in both of the first two rounds.  The other Rory - as in World No. 2 McIlroy - missed his third straight cut thanks to a second-round 79; he's looking for answers before his U.S. Open defense in less than two weeks. 

One stroke off the lead at 5-under are Tiger Woods, Spencer Levin, and first-round leader Scott Stallings.  Phil Mickelson withdrew after shooting a first-round 79.

Stricker's finish on Friday was in stark contrast to his first-round finish Thursday, when he ended his day with three straight bogeys on Nos. 16, 17, and 18. On Friday, he birdied holes 7, 8 and 9, finishing on the front nine.  He jumped into a tie for 23rd up from 55th after day one.

The three-time defending champion at the John Deere Classic  got off to a solid start Thursday, taking his score to 4-under par through 11 holes .  But Stricker's good play soon deserted Wisconsin's favorite son of golf, who made four bogeys on his last six holes to finish the opening round of Jack Nicklaus' tournament at 1-over par.

Meanwhile, John Deere Classic past champion Jonathan Byrd (2007) jumped 13 spots on the leaderboard to a seventh place tie after recording a 2-under 70 in Friday's round.

Paired on Saturday with Brandt Snedeker, they tee off at 12:36 p.m. CDT.


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