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Tiger, Rory happy to grind at US Open

By Agence France-Presse in Ardmore, Pennsylvania | China Daily | Updated: 2013-06-16 14:41

Tiger, Rory happy to grind at US Open

Under ordinary circumstances three-over par 73s for Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy would not be a reason for celebration.

But under the peculiar circumstances at Merion Golf Club this week where the US Open is being staged, the world's two top golfers were more than happy to settle for that score in the second round.

For one thing, it kept both of them handily placed for the challenge ahead at the weekend when Woods will be going for a 15th major and McIlroy a third.

But it also saw them avoid the fates of such former major winners as Jim Furyk, Graeme McDowell and Zach Johnson, who, playing together, reached the halfway stage at a cumulative 23-over par.

Woods and McIlroy chatted amicably and joked after their round, which was more than could be said for the third member of their grouping, Masters champion Adam Scott, who struggled to a 75 and a seven-over 147 total.

Asked if he fancied his chances for the weekend, Woods shot back, "Yes.

"I played well. I just made a couple of mistakes out there today, but I really played well. Maybe I could have gotten one or two more out of it, but it was a pretty good day."

Asked about his left arm injury, Woods said he had picked it up while playing in last month's US PGA Players Championship.

Was the injury getting worse under the strain of Merion's thick rough? Woods would only say: "Well, it is what it is."

McIlroy, who carded identical scores to Woods in the first two rounds of 73-70, said that he would head off into the weekend full of confidence.

"I'm very happy. Right in there for the weekend. I don't think I'll be too far away by the end of the day," he said. "I mean, in a nice position going into the last two days."

The Ulsterman famously won his first major title at the 2011 US Open at Congressional, when he set a record winning score of 16-under par.

That would not be a score that would be on his mind at the weekend, he said.

"At the end of the day, there's going to be a guy lifting the trophy at the end of the week. It doesn't matter if he's plus five, minus five, plus 16."

Down in the disaster zone, 2010 US Open champion McDowell headed home at least with the consolation that before the tournament started he was one of the few who warned that, short though it may be at 6,996 yards, Merion punched above its weight.

That was what US Open golf was all about, said the Ulsterman, who followed an opening 76 with a 77.

"I'll shake it off and I'll get ready for the Open Championship in a few weeks time," he said. "That's my next target, The Irish Open and the French Open before that.

"I'll be competitively sharp going into Muirfield and I'll continue to draw on this season."

There were complaints from some players destined to miss the cut that Friday's pin placements bordered on the infernal on the part of the US Golf Association. But 2003 US Open champion Furyk said he would head for home with no regrets.

"It's a wonderful old golf course," he said. "It goes to show you. My favorite course that we play regularly on the PGA Tour is Hilton Head and it's right there around 7,000 (yards) as well and our scores aren't overly low there, if the wind blows a little bit, just like here."

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