Holding a share of the lead after Round 1, Bo Van Pelt and Hideki Matsuyama both fell back during Friday's action in the 2015 Memorial Tournament at the Muirfield Village Golf Club. As they struggled, David Lingmerth emerged to take their place after finishing at 12 under through two rounds.
The 27-year-old Swede owns a one-shot advantage over Jason Dufner. You can view the leaderboard below:
Lingmerth got off to a rather unspectacular start to his Round 2, picking up pars on each of the first six holes. On No. 7, he began a string of three straight birdies. On the back nine, he alternated birdies and pars over the final seven holes to finish seven under for the day.
A birdie on No. 18 was what put Lingmerth into the lead as he headed for the clubhouse. PGA Tour noted that the rest of the field has encountered a lot of trouble early on that hole, but Lingmerth was one of the exceptions:
Will Gray of GolfChannel.com highlighted how he has been on a tear ever since struggling through the first six holes of the opening round:
Lingmerth's approach play was particularly impressive Friday. He made 14 of his 18 greens in regulation and gained 4.092 strokes from tee to green, per PGATour.com. In addition, no other golfer gained more strokes from his putting, rounding out a strong day.
He's in somewhat uncharted territory relative to the rest of his career. According to PGATour.com, Lingmerth has competed in 67 events on the PGA Tour with two second-place finishes and five top-10 finishes to his name. His last victory anywhere came back in 2012 on the Web.com Tour.
It will be interesting to see if Lingmerth is able to maintain his high level of play over the weekend.
Although he sits in second place, Dufner might have had the most notable day of any golfer in Dublin, Ohio. He was all over the place, carding a double-bogey, an eagle and a hole-in-one.
You can view his eagle putt on No. 15 below:
Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman wasn't sure whether the notoriously stone-faced Dufner decided to enjoy himself a bit after those back-to-back eagles:
Fellow PGA Tour veteran Phil Mickelson decided to have a little bit of fun at Dufner's expense, per Gray:
The two eagles were a big reason why Dufner finished five under for the round. His double-bogey could've been disastrous. Instead, the 2013 PGA Championship winner is in a great position to contend for the Memorial title.
One star almost certainly out of the running is Tiger Woods. Woods nearly missed the cut altogether after back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17 to close out his first round. At one under for the tournament, he was just one stroke above the cut line.
Speaking after the round, Woods felt that his work off the tee wasn't great in the round but that he recovered well once on the green, per ESPN's Bob Harig:
Obviously displeased with the way I drove it. I didn't drive it very good again. I kept spinning the ball. I have to go fix that. But the putting was great today. I had a great feel for the pace. Even the putts I missed had that kind of 'go in' look, and they were right around the hole.
The numbers certainly back up Woods' evaluation. He missed nine of his 14 fairways Friday, which was only a slight improvement from yesterday's driving accuracy (4-of-14). However, Tiger gained 3.703 strokes on the green, which was third-best for the round, per PGATour.com.
The PGA Tour uploaded highlights from two of his better putts, the first coming on No. 12 and the second on No. 14:
Those putts were all the more important when you consider the slim margin with which he ensured he'd be golfing this weekend.
Simply making the cut doesn't necessarily qualify as progress for Woods. When you consider how sparingly he has appeared this year, though, there are bound to be issues as he physically adjusts to playing on a more full-time basis.
Without question, his driving will have to improve if he wants to be a threat at the biggest events on the schedule.
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