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"Whoever wins this golf tournament is going to be a great champion, somebody that's probably won events before, that can handle the emotions and can handle the adversity in a U.S. Open, and somebody with experience," said Toms, who won the 2001 PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club. "At least that's what I think. You never know. Strange things can happen, but I would think that you would see a lot of that on the leaderboard come late Sunday."
It starts with Woods, who is coming off his second win of the year at the Memorial and looks as strong as ever. Hitting shots in both directions, mainly with irons off the tees, he overcame three straight bogeys on his front nine, two of those shots not far off from being easy birdie chances.
His only regret was not taking advantage of having a wedge in his hand on the last three holes, all birdie opportunities that became pars.
When he regained a share of the lead with Furyk on the 13th with a 4-foot birdie putt, Woods was coming up on a series of holes that allowed players to at least think of making birdie. In a greenside bunker in two on the par-5 16th -- shortened to 609 yards Friday -- Woods blasted out weakly and missed a 12-foot putt. With a mid-iron in his hand in the fairway on the par-5 17th, he went over the green and down a deep slope. Despite a superb pitch to 8 feet, he missed the putt.
And with a wedge from the fairway on the 18th, he came up well short and into a bunker, having to settle for par.
Pars aren't bad, though.
McDowell dropped three shots on his last four holes for a 72. Even so, he was very much in the hunt two shots behind at 141, along with recent LSU alum John Peterson (70), Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium (69) and Michael Thompson, the first-round leader, who followed his opening 66 with a 75.
"It's just tough to have fun out there," McDowell said.
Woods had won eight straight times when he had at least a share of the lead going into the weekend at the majors, a streak that ended at the 2009 PGA Championship when Y.E. Yang chased him down from four shots back. Woods hasn't seriously contended in the final hour of a major since then.
"If they want 5 over to win, 10 over to win it ... they can hide these pins away," McDowell said. "I would have to imagine around level par."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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