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"I just kind of realize that this is the opportunity for me to support my family," Willis said. "I don't need to go out there and shoot at every pin. I can go out there, shoot for the middle of the green, try to make a putt from 20, 30 feet. If I don't, tap it in for par, and I'm just trying to play as well as I possibly can."
That focus helped on a day where he hit an approach into a fan's chair on the par-5 third and had to wait for a ruling for a drop where the ball rolled behind a tree. That forced him to punch out left of the green where he got a lucky kick with it rolling up to 30 feet closer to set him up for birdie.
"That got some excitement definitely going for me," Willis said.
He rolled in a 3-footer for birdie on No. 9 and had his own strong finish with birdies on three of the final four holes. His 18-foot putt lipped in for birdie on No. 15 when he thought he had missed it, two-putted for birdie from 60 feet on the par-5 16th and watched Tom Pernice's putt on the same line on No. 18 before rolling in a 19-footer.
"I'm trying to be a lot smarter and try to learn from my mistakes, knowing that a lot of pars on this golf course when the wind starts blowing is a pretty good score," Willis said.
Tim Petrovic briefly tied Hoffman at 8 under with his fourth birdie on his 12th hole only to bogey two of his next three to fall off the pace. He finished with a 68 and was tied for sixth at 134 with Lee Janzen (66) and Shaun Micheel (66).
This is Karlsson's first trip to Memphis as his tuneup for the U.S. Open. He got a bounce off a cart that helped him save par on his final hole.
"I didn't aim for that one actually," he said to laughter. "I hit it a bit right, and I was very happy when I saw it, when I saw where it was. That happens. It was good there was no one in the cart anyway.
DIVOTS: Paul Goydos withdrew with an injury. He opened with a 75 and shot a 38 through his first nine holes Friday, putting him 8 over. Mark Hensby withdrew due to illness, and John Morse withdrew with an injury. ... Steve Wheatcroft had a double eagle on the par-5 No. 3. He holed out from 243 yards with a hybrid 2-iron for just the fourth double-eagle in this event's history. It didn't help enough. He missed the cut. ... John Daly was among the 81 making the cut. He made it right at 1 over due to taking a two-shot penalty for hitting the wrong ball out of a hazard on No. 9 and finishing with a double bogey on the hole.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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