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Doral's 'Blue Monster' bites back in Round 2

DORAL — The new "Blue Monster" in raging wind looked a lot like an old U.S. Open on Friday.

Matt Kuchar played out of the rough to tap-in range for birdie on the 18th hole for 2-over 74, allowing him to join an elite group at the Cadillac Championship — one of only four survivors to par.

Doral gobbled up just about everyone else.

Dustin Johnson bogeyed three of his last six holes for 74. Patrick Reed made only two birdies in his round of 75. Hunter Mahan atoned for a triple bogey with a 4-iron into 5 feet for eagle on the eighth hole, giving him 74. They joined Kuchar atop the leaderboard at 1-under 143.

"I felt stressed all day, because I knew every shot had 'big penalty' written all over it," Mahan said. "It was a really tough day. There wasn't an easy shot out there."

Only three players broke par in the second round. No one shot in the 60s. The average score was a fraction under 76.

"I don't think I've played in conditions this difficult in the U.S.," Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland said after his 71 left him one shot behind. "It's an Open Championship day. It's a real Friday afternoon at St. Andrews in 2010 before they called it. It was hard out there — really, really hard."

Rory McIlroy (74), Francesco Molinari (75) and Jamie Donaldson (70) also were one behind at par 144.

Tiger Woods hit three balls in the water and scraped out 73, thanks in part to a 90-foot birdie putt on the par-3 fourth. Phil Mickelson made back-to-back double bogeys, then laid on his back along the bank of the fourth tee during a long wait. He got up, hit into the water and made another double bogey. He shot 75.

Both were still in the mix, only six behind.

"The setup is horrendous," Webb Simpson said after his 78. "Even if we had a 10 mph wind, it still would have been bad. I played terrible. I want to get that out there. But when you have conditions like this, and a setup like this, so much luck comes into play."

Henrik Stenson prefaced his comments by saying, "How do you say something you might regret the rest of your life?"

So he didn't.

Stenson, part of the Nos. 1-2-3 grouping from the world ranking, had 76 and joined Woods at 5-over 149. Adam Scott, the other member of that illustrious trio, had 73 and was at 148. The group was a combined 14 over for the World Golf Championships event.

Stenson was walking off the 15th green Friday morning while finishing the rain-delayed first round and said to reporters, "Are you having fun watching?" And as he walked away, he smiled and said, "Because it's sure as hell not any fun to be playing."

"We've all got a shot at it now," Woods said. "No one is going anywhere."

PGA: James Driscoll matched the Puerto Rico Open record with 9-under 63 to take a one-stroke lead after the second round in Rio Grande. He was at 12-under 132. Rookie Chesson Hadley was second after shooting 65.

Doral's 'Blue Monster' bites back in Round 2 03/07/14 [Last modified: Friday, March 7, 2014 8:43pm]
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