Woods and Mickelson have their work cut out

Posted: April 07, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga. - The two biggest names in golf, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, have serious ground to make up today and tomorrow in the Masters.

Mickelson, the defending champion, rebounded from his first-round 76 with a 73 yesterday, but that still left him 7 shots off the lead. Woods was in slightly better shape, 3 over par and 5 shots back, after his 74 yesterday at Augusta National.

Early in their rounds, it looked as if both players were in for a day of suffering.

Woods took three bogeys - at the first, fourth and seventh holes - before carding his first birdie at the par-5 eighth hole. After his third fairway, Woods took another bogey at the ninth and made the turn in 39.

He birdied the 10th but took another bogey at the 11th when he missed the fairway and had to punch out. And at the par-3 12th, where his tee ball trickled back into the pond, Woods sank a 20-footer to avoid double-bogey.

Only two birdies, at the par-5 15th and par-4 17th, saved him.

"Yesterday I threw away a good round and today I salvaged a bad one," Woods said. "I felt like I turned basically a 90 into a 74, which is nice."

With Augusta National playing so firm and fast, Woods doesn't expect to shoot a low number today.

"Here? On this golf course? Not in these conditions," Woods said. "You just go ahead and plod along and try to put the ball in the right spot if you can. And if you can't, somehow just don't have any wrecks out there."

The weather isn't helping. The overnight temperature was expected to plummet to 32 degrees.

By the time he teed off late in the day, with the wind whipping around and the course dry, Mickelson already knew there was no hot round to be had yesterday. It was all about gaining by inches, not yards. Even that was tough.

Like Woods, Mickelson had three bogeys before he picked up his first birdie, making the turn in 38. On the back, he added another bogey and two birdies.

"I fought hard for that 5 over," Mickelson said. "I've got to hit more fairways. The first day, I drove horrible, putted horrible. The second day, I just drove it horrible and putted better."

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