Jimenez leads, Woods fights back at Open

When Tiger Woods rolled in a five metre putt for birdie on Muirfield’s tough closing hole, pumping his putter towards sky, it was clear the world number one meant business and is positioned again to break the longest major drought of his career.

Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez had earlier turned in another solid round with an even-par 71 that left him with a one-shot advantage at 3-under-par over Woods, Dustin Johnston, Lee Westwood and Henrik Stenson.

Over the years, Woods, of course, has proven adept at manoeuvring himself in to position to strike at majors.

In his major championships last year there was an opening 73 at Merion last month, an opening 70 at the Masters in April, a 69 at Kiawah Island in August, a 67 at Royal Birkdale this time last year.

Whoever wins this Open Championship will have to earn it. The way Muirfield is set up with pins of fiendish difficulty, there aren’t many chances for going low.

Tiger Woods Tiger Woods moved in to a four-way tie for second place following round two of the 142nd Open Championship (Credit: Eoin Clarke/www.golffile.ie)

“It was tough,” said Woods.

“It got so fast and so dry that, as I said, it was hard to get the ball close and even lag-putt the ball at the right speed. I mean, I putted the ball off the green today. And it really wasn’t that bad a putt.”

Woods, without a major for five years, appears in good shape – the elbow injury that has prevented him from playing since this year’s US Open not providing any impediment to his progress.

Yet he remains pleased with his efforts on a day where many in the field struggled.

“The golf course progressively dried out and got more difficult as we played. And I’m very pleased to shoot anything even par or better. Fair or not? Well, I could see how guys were complaining about it.”

Woods is in the position he wanted when the week started, ready to make a move on Saturday toward the number one spot on the leaderboard.

And when it comes to that, there’s nobody better.

Adam Scott is the best of the Australians at 1-over and in a tie for 11th position.

Jason Day is also in the mix at 2-over and in twentieth position, with Marcus Frazer (5-over), Geoff Ogilvy (8-over), and Peter Senior (8-over) all making the weekend.