Jimenez Leads Tiger Woods by a Shot at British Open Golf

Tiger Woods is among four golfers trailing leader Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain by one shot heading into today’s third round of the British Open.

Woods and fellow American Dustin Johnson, England’s Lee Westwood and Sweden’s Henrik Stenson all are at 2 under. Woods birdied the 18th hole to finish with an even-par 71 yesterday; Westwood tied for the day’s lowest round of 68; Stenson finished with 70, and Dustin Johnson shot 72.

“Just continue plodding along,” Woods told reporters who asked what he had to do over the weekend. “We’re not going to get a lot of opportunities out there, but when I have, I’ve been able to capitalize. Hopefully I can continue doing that.”

Jimenez, 49, shot an even-par 71 in yesterday’s second round and is 3 under for the tournament at Muirfield in Gullane, Scotland. He trailed Zach Johnson and Angel Cabrera after his round, then moved into the lead when the two faltered.

Zach Johnson of the U.S., and Cabrera, of Argentina, are among four golfers at 1 under.

“When you are there, you feel the pressure because you are on top of the leaderboard,” said Jimenez, who has two top-10 finishes in 20 previous Open appearances. “You need to feel that pressure, to feel intense, to feel competitive.”

Jimenez tees off at 3:20 p.m. local time (10:20 a.m. New York) with Stenson, 10 minutes after Woods and Westwood.

Zach Johnson, who led at 5 under after the first round, dropped three shots in his first eight holes yesterday. After three birdies got him back to 5 under after 13 holes, he made two bogeys and a double-bogey to finish with a 75.

“It was a grind from the first shot to my last 3-, 4-footer, whatever it was, on 18,” he told reporters. “Just trying to pick the right club, trying to pick the right target, with the right shot was very difficult.”

Westwood’s Move

Cabrera was 4 under before making three bogeys over the final five holes. He finished with a 72.

Among the early starters today, South Africa’s Richard Sterne shot 68 and is 5 over for the championship, while Japan’s Shingo Katayama shot 69 to get to 6 over.

Sunny conditions and an increasing wind helped dry out the course yesterday, making it hard and fast in the afternoon for the second straight round. One of the players taking advantage of playing in the morning was Westwood.

The Englishman made six birdies in the first 12 holes to pull even with Zach Johnson at 5 under. It was short-lived, as he bogeyed Nos. 13 and 14, and dropped another shot at the final hole.

“I was playing some great stuff,” Westwood said. “It was getting harder as the holes progressed, tougher to score, tougher to get it close.”

Phil Mickelson is 1 over after shooting a 74. The four-time major winner had a four-putt double-bogey on the par-3 16th hole.

Missing Cut

The score to play the final 36 holes on the weekend was 8 over. Among those making the cut were Masters winner Adam Scott of Australia, who is 1 over, and defending champion Ernie Els of South Africa at 6 over.

Rory McIlroy’s poor Open continued as he shot 75 to finish at 12 over. The Northern Irishman, who is winless this season. said he was “brain dead” and “confused” after shooting a 79 in the first round.

“Disappointed, but I guess I have a clearer picture of what I need to work on and what I need to do to put things right,” said McIlroy, who will defend his PGA Championship title next month. “Sometimes this game can feel further away than it actually is. You see some positive signs. And you try and sort of take anything you can from that.”

U.S. Open champion Justin Rose of England also missed the cut after shooting 77 yesterday to finish at 10 over.

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