Troy Merritt, Kyoung-Hoon Lee and Martin Kaymer will enter the weekend at Muirfield Village Golf Club with a share of the lead at the Memorial Tournament.
Merritt signed for a 6-under 66 scorecard, comprised of two bogeys offset by six birdies and an eagle on the par-5 7th hole to reach 9-under par.
“If you told me when I started out I was going to shoot 66, I wouldn’t have teed it up, I would take 66 any day on this golf course,” said Merritt.
“But I struck it really, really well. Just sloppy on 14 and accidentally nuked a 6-iron on 16, and missed some putts coming in; otherwise, it could have been in the low 60s.”
Lee posted the only blemish-free round among the leaders, as the 27-year old Korean finished with a 67 highlighted by five birdies.
“Yeah, today, awesome day. Tee shot well. Irons and putting well. I just last one a little bit struggle on tee shot,” said Lee.
“But I don’t want to — I don’t want to bogey. No bogey round.”
Kaymer, meanwhile, carded a single bogey alongside five birdies en route to a 4-under 68 to secure a share of the marquee at halftime.
“The golf course was very playable with the softness. But I played well and didn’t make many mistakes,” said Kaymer.
“I putted well over the last two days. And that got me into the position where I am in right now. So I really look forward to the next two days.
“And as you said, it’s been a while for me, it’s been five years pretty much since I was leading the U.S. Open in 2014.
“So it would be nice to get a little bit of reward for all the work I put in the last two or three years.”
One back was tournament headliner Jordan Spieth, who seems to be well on his way to busting out of his year-long slump. The 25-year old Texan posted a 2-under 70 on Friday to grab sole possession of second-place at 8-under par.
“I probably shot the highest score I could have shot today, with where I was tee to green,” said Spieth.
“It felt really good. Continue to trust it. Give myself as many looks as possible, don’t force them into the pins, rely on the mid-range game with the putter and more will go in.”
A five-player logjam was tied for fifth-place at 7-under par, which included Rickie Fowler, who carded a 4-under 68 on Friday.
“Happy with the first two days. Working on a few things to get back to where I was earlier this year,” said Fowler.
“Didn’t quite play as well as I wanted to, obviously, at the PGA. Last week I was heading the right direction, I just didn’t make any putts.
“Nice to see some work come together this week.”
Patrick Cantlay (69), Bud Cauley (70), Emiliano Grillo (68), and Adam Scott (66) were also part of the T5 group alongside Fowler.
World No. 3 Justin Rose fired a low-round 63 and rocketed 78 spots up the leaderboard to T10 on 6-under par, alongside Andrew Putnam (70), Danny Willett (69), Marc Leishman (71), and Austin Cook (67).
“It was fun, obviously,” said Rose. “Early bogey today. I came out today with the intention of not just trying to making the cut, but trying to play a round that would get me into the tournament.
“I was thinking about how I could turn in 31 today and then see if I can keep it going from there.
“And I did turn in 31, but I wanted it back to even par for the tournament through the fifth hole. It was my mini goal starting the day, 3-under through 5, and obviously I bogeyed No. 3 to give me 4-over for the tournament.
“But I guess the two eagles on the front kind of kick started everything.
“I kept just pushing myself to keep trying to go as low as I could. Once you’re through the cut line, then you’ve got to build your way into the tournament.
“It was a great day.”
Tiger Woods made a late double-bogey on the par-5 15th hole to drop back to 2-under par.
“Well, it just was kind of a mixed bag. I didn’t really get anything going today,” said Woods.
“I was just kind of plugging along, I just wasn’t able to get anything really going.
“All of us were watching Rosie get things going on the front nine. I just wasn’t able to make anything happen today.”
Justin Thomas was 1-under through eight holes on Friday, and appeared headed for the weekend at 2-under par with 10 holes to play. But the world No. 6 fell apart down the stretch, and finished his final 10 holes with three doubles and four bogeys en route to a stunning score of 8-over par 80. Thomas went from T28 to T108 in about 3 hours.
Phil Mickelson also missed the cut after a Friday round of 79. The 48-year old will enter the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in two weeks playing arguably the worst golf of his career, having missed four cuts in his last six starts.
2019 Memorial Tournament
Top 5: Round 2
Pos-Player-To Par (Rd 2)
1. Troy Merritt -9 (-6)
1. Kyoung-Hoon Lee -9 (-5)
1. Martin Kaymer -9 (-4)
4. Jordan Spieth -8 (-2)
5. Bud Cauley -7 (-2)
5. Patrick Cantlay -7 (-3)
5. Emiliano Grillo -7 (-4)
5. Adam Scott -7 (-6)
5. Rickie Fowler -7 (-4)
Stat Leaders: Round 2
Driving: Cam Champ – 309.4 yards
Fairways: Matt Fitzpatrick – 28/28, 100%
Greens: Kyoung-Hoon Lee – 31/36, 86.1%
Putts/GIR: Justin Rose – 1.560
Birdies: Martin Kaymer – 12
Video: Round-2 Highlights
“I just need to visualize the success more often that I had to really let it sink in. Because I’m not the guy who celebrates a lot, which I think is a little bit of a mistake. Because you don’t know the value of the win, if you see everything the same. If you just move on and move on, you try to go from one tournament to another and you continue doing that, but you need to pull yourself out, maybe celebrate, however the celebration looks like.”
– Martin Kaymer