Laird up by 2 in Phoenix; Tiger, Phil miss cut

Scottsdale, AZ ( – Martin Laird carded his second straight
5-under 66 on Friday to grab the lead at the Phoenix Open, but the bigger
story was who won’t be around for the weekend.

Laird ended 36 holes at 10-under-par 132. He closed his second round with a
bogey at the 18th, and that was his first bogey of the tournament.

While that was his first bogey, two of the biggest names in the field – Tiger
Woods and Phil Mickelson – dropped too many shots and will both miss the cut.
It marks the second time ever that the two have missed the cut at the same
event. The other time that happened was at the 2012 Greenbrier Classic.

Woods struggled to an 11-over 82 and he ended at 13-over-par 155 at the TPC
Scottsdale. He missed the cut in his second straight start for the first time
in his PGA Tour career.

Woods had three pars and a bogey over his first four holes. An unplayable lie
penalty at the 14th led to a double-bogey. Woods rinsed his tee shot at the
par-5 15th.

He found a bunker with his fourth there and needed four more to get down. The
triple-bogey dropped him to plus-8 for the tournament. Woods bogeyed 17 and 18
as well.

Woods flew the green at the par-3 fourth and hit a pair of poor chip shots. He
walked off with another double-bogey, which dropped him into last place. Woods
birdied the fifth and eighth, but bogeyed six and seven. He closed with
another bogey at the last.

“I was more committed to what I was doing on my back nine, hit some better
shots, but still have a lot of work to do,” Woods said. “It was not a very
good day from the start, until the end, but I fought all day.”

Mickelson, a three-time winner of this event, struggled to a 5-over 76, which
left him at 3-over-par 145. The cut line will fall at plus-1.

The conditions during Woods’ round were not ideal, and they got worse while
Mickelson was on the course. Mickelson carded six pars and three bogeys on the
front nine.

Mickelson dropped two more shots at 12 and 13. He got one back at the par-5
15th, where he rolled in a 5-foot birdie try. Needing one birdie over the
final three holes to make the cut, Mickelson made two pars and a bogey to end
at plus-3.

Daniel Berger, who is playing on a sponsors exemption, posted a 2-under 69 and
he stands alone in second place at minus-8. Justin Thomas carded a 3-under 68
to move into third place at 7-under-par 135.

Former Masters champions Zach Johnson (70), Bubba Watson (71) and Angel
Cabrera (69) share fourth place at minus-6. They were joined there by first-
round leader Ryan Palmer (72), Ryan Moore (67) and Robert Streb (70).

Rain fell for most of Friday’s second round and play was eventually suspended
for the night due to darkness. The first round had also been halted by
darkness and was completed earlier Friday. The second round will resume
Saturday morning at 9:45 a.m. ET with third round tee times starting at
approximately 11 a.m.

Laird was in the fourth-to-last group out off the first tee. After three pars
to open his round, he stuffed his tee shot inside two feet at the fourth.
Laird kicked that in for birdie then parred his next three holes.

At the eighth, Laird poured in a long birdie effort from off the green to move
to minus-7 and within one of Berger. Laird parred four in a row from the ninth
before soaring into the lead.

Laird drained a 19-footer for birdie at the 13th. He kicked in a short birdie
at the par-5 15th to grab the lead at minus-9. After a birdie at 16, Laird
made it three in a row as he drained his second straight 7-foot birdie putt.

The Scotsman was three clear of the field at 11-under heading to the last.
With darkness setting in, Laird missed the green with his approach shot and
played his third to six feet. He missed the par effort, but was still two
clear with 36 holes to play.

Berger, who was in the last group out in the morning wave, opened with nine
pars in a row. He traded a bogey for a birdie from the 10th. After five more
pars, Berger birdied the final two holes to end at minus-8.

“I’m really happy with the way I performed. The course is playing really tough
out there. I made nine pars to start the round and just kind of hung in
there,” Berger said.

NOTES: Laird owns the 36-hole lead for the third time in his PGA Tour career
… He has won one of the previous two times he was in that position … With
the poor weather on Friday, attendance dipped to 81,309 … The cut will
likely fall at 1-over-par 143, and that will mean Robert Allenby, Kenny Perry,
Ryo Ishikawa, Jason Dufner, Erik Compton, Padraig Harrington, David Toms and
Camilo Villegas will miss the cut along with Woods and Mickelson.