Tiger, Rory struggle as Palmer surges at Torrey Pines

Reigning Masters champion Tiger Wood is seen in action during the second round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego, California, on Friday. — Courtesy photo
Reigning Masters champion Tiger Wood is seen in action during the second round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego, California, on Friday. — Courtesy photo

SAN DIEGO, California — Reigning Masters champion Tiger Woods, chasing a record 83rd US PGA title, and Rory McIlroy, trying to become world No. 1, struggled on Friday while Ryan Palmer seized the lead at the Farmers Insurance Open. Woods overcame a double-bogey disaster on the first hole to shoot a one-under par 71 while McIlroy faded late to fire a one-over 73, leaving both on four-under 140 and six adrift of Palmer's pace after 36 holes at Torrey Pines. "It played a lot harder for everyone than yesterday except for Ryan — he's the only one who figured it out," Woods said. The sizzling Palmer had 11 birdies with his only blemish being a bogey on his final hole to shoot a 10-under par 62 on a sunny day at the ocean-side course. After shooting an even opening round, the 43-year-old came alive on the North Course to sit on 134 at the halfway point. Palmer said remaining accurate off the tee would be crucial when play is limited to the more challenging South Course over the weekend. "The rough is thick enough to where you have to hit the driver good and fortunately we're doing that," said Palmer, who is aiming for his fifth career PGA Tour victory. "If I keep driving the ball the way I have been, I'll have some chances. "It's awesome to shoot a low round like that but it's always tough to follow it up. But it's exciting and I love where my game is at." Palmer leads fellow American Brandt Snedeker, who is eight-under after two rounds. Woods had a disastrous start with a double bogey on the par-four first on the South Course due to some uncharacteristically careless putting. The 44-year-old American grimaced and uttered an expletive under his breath after a rare four putt. But the 15-time major champion, gunning for a record-breaking 83rd PGA Tour victory this week, then settled down, mixing five birdies with two bogeys the rest of the way to sit six strokes off the lead heading into the weekend. "I tried to ram it in the hole and it bounced out," Woods said. "I hit a terrible third putt. "I hit a lot of good shots. I'm driving the ball better, which is nice. In the middle part of the round I made those putts." Four players were tired for third including J.B. Holmes and Jhonattan Vegas, who have each won multiple PGA Tour events, with the dangerous Patrick Reed lurking among the group tied for seventh. Rory McIlroy, who can become world number one for the first time since 2015 with a win on Sunday, had a solid start but struggled toward the finish with three bogeys on the back nine for a round of one-over par. Like Woods, the Northern Irishman is four-under for the tournament. Defending champion Justin Rose, world No. 25 Rickie Fowler, veteran Phil Mickelson and San Diego native Xander Schauffele were among the players who missed the cut at Torrey Pines, which is perched on the cliffs over the Pacific Ocean. Torrey Pines is also located near Naval Base San Diego and fighter jets frequently roar overhead during the tournament while thrill seekers can be seen parasailing off the picturesque coast. — Agencies Reigning Masters champion Tiger Wood is seen in action during the second round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego, California, on Friday. — Courtesy photo