Sun, Mar 09, 2014 - Page 20 News List

Johnson grabs a share of the lead as McIlroy lurks

AFP, MIAMI, Florida

Former runner-up Dustin Johnson fired a two-over 74 to grab a share of the lead at a gusty WGC-Cadillac Championship on Friday, while Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy kept pace with a 74.

Defending champion Tiger Woods carded a 73 in difficult conditions and despite the over-par round jumped 28 places into a share of 25th at the US$9 million PGA Tour event. Woods won this title for the seventh time last year.

Johnson is tied atop a crowded leaderboard after 36 holes, with US compatriots Patrick Reed (75), Matt Kuchar (74) and Hunter Mahan (74) at one-under 143.

It is not quite the Ryder Cup, but McIlroy is lurking just one stroke back in another four-man group that comprises fellow Europeans Jamie Donaldson, Graeme McDowell (71) and Francesco Molinari (75).

The Europeans share fifth place as Donaldson, of Wales, tallied the low round of the day on the weather-hit Trump National Doral with a two-under 70.

“I don’t think I have played in conditions this difficult in America,” McDowell said of the swirling winds on the “Blue Monster” course.

No one shot in the 60s and just three golfers broke par in the second round. The average score on Friday was a 76.

Woods drained a 91-foot, seven-inch putt on the par-three fourth, giving him his longest putt since 2001. It was also the longest putt on the Tour in five years.

Zach Johnson (75) and Bubba Watson (72) share ninth place at one-over 145, one stroke clear of Jason Dufner (77), South African Charl Schwartzel (76), Brandt Snedeker (73), Chris Kirk (71), Harris English (77) and South Korea’s Kim Hyung-sung (74).

The first and second rounds were both completed on Friday. The first round was suspended because of darkness following a long weather delay on Thursday.

Both rounds saw scores soar on Friday as the wind gusted to more than 32kph.

The second round alone saw more than 100 golf balls land in the water.

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