Tiger Woods, who needed 30 putts in opening in 1-under 70, took 35 swipes of the flatstick on a windy Friday en route to a 73. Woods enters weekend play at 1-over-par, eight shots off the lead held by Stephen Leaney (67) and James McLean (70).
'I hit a lot of good putts,' Woods said. 'It's just the greens are not smooth right now and a little tough, and on top of that the wind was blowing, which makes it even more difficult.'
Woods started his day with a three-putt bogey at the first. He came back with a birdie at the second, but hooked his tee shot at the third and missed a two-foot bogey putt.
Birdies at the par-5 seventh and 12th holes got Woods back to even par for the day and 1-under for the tournament; however, he then reeled off three consecutive bogeys.
Tiger boomed his drive on the par-4 13th, but left his approach shot 40 feet from the hole. He rolled his birdie effort six feet past the cup and missed the comebacker. After failing to get up and down at the par-3 14th, Woods again three-putted the par-4 15th, this time from 15 feet.
With three holes remaining, Woods stood at 2-over, one stroke above the projected cutline. He parred the 16th, only to miss the green long at the par-4 17th. Woods pitched to within four feet and sank the edgy putt. He almost chipped in for eagle at the par-5 18th, but settled for a tap-in birdie (He has birdied all six of the par-5s through two rounds).
Woods wasn't the only notable name to eke into the weekend. Thirteen-year-old qualifier Jae An shot rounds of 71-74 to make the cut on the number, at 3-over 145.
McLean, the 1998 NCAA champion at the University of Minnesota, had an up-and-down round. He bogeyed the first, third and sixth holes, but recovered with birdies at the seventh, ninth and tenth. He then offset dropped shots at Nos. 13 and 14 with birdies at 15 and 16. He completed his dizzying day with a bogey at the 17th and an eagle at the par-5 finishing hole.
'I got off to a slow start - it was playing pretty tough out there,' McLean said. 'The wind kept on switching directions and I found it hard to get comfortable over the ball. I hit a few loose ones and the putter didn't get me out of trouble.'
Leaney, on the other hand, was stagnate over his first 14 holes - playing them in 1-over - but roared home with four consecutive birdies to tie McLean at the top.
Australian amateur Adam Groom is tied for third place following a 4-under-par 67. He stands at 6-under 136, alongside Kiwi Steve Alker (70) and Craig Parry (69).
2000 New Zealand Open champion Michael Campbell shot a 1-over 72 in the second round and stands four off the pace at 3-under. Hes one shot removed from overnight leader Scott Gardiner, who fell to 4-under after shooting 74, 10 strokes higher than his opening score.
News, Notes and Numbers
*Defending champion David Smail, who played the first two rounds with Woods, shot back-to-back 73s to finish at 4-over-par 146 and miss the cut.
*Campbell said he is donating all of his earnings this week in equal portions to the AMP Golf Foundation for young New Zealand players and the Ronald McDonald House, which helps seriously ill children and their families.
*Ticket prices will be reduced Saturday from NZ$170 (roughly US$70) to NZ$90 (roughly US$40) after 1:00 p.m. The final group is scheduled to tee off at 1:55 p.m.
*Andre Stoltz aced the 140-yard par-3 16th. Stoltz shot 1-under 70 to finish 36 holes at 1-under-par.
Full-field scores from the New Zealand Open