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More telling than only 18 players who remained under par was the cut at 148. It was one shot higher than the cut for the U.S. Open last year at Congressional, and it was the highest score to make the cut at a regular PGA Tour event since 149 at The Barclays in 2009.
Woods was at 2-under 140, in a tie for 11th. He was as happy about two pars as he was with his 50-foot eagle putt on the 16th hole that put him under par for the first time all week.
He was in trouble early after a few tee shots were caught in the dense rough that makes Congressional feel like a U.S. Open and forced him to hack out short of the green. Both times, he hit wedges that landed by the hole, bounced 15 feet by and caught the slope to come back within 3 feet.
"The pars at 14 and 15 were something I needed to have happen," Woods said. "I hit two good wedge shots in there after two poor drives and gave myself a couple good looks, made those, and then I rewarded all that hard work at the next hole with eagle."
Woods was three shots behind when he finished, and didn't expect to fall back much farther. The course, already looking like it was supposed to play last year for the U.S. Open, was getting firm and crusty from the scorching heat. It was the kind of day reminiscent of when Ken Venturi won the 1964 U.S. Open at Congressional, so dehydrated he almost didn't finish. And high heat was expected well into the weekend, making this a test of survival.
Garrigus took advantage of a forward tee on the 12th hole to stuff his approach inside 4 feet, and then he really let his length work to his advantage toward the end of the back nine. He belted a 348-yard tee shot beyond the bunkers on the par-5 16th that left him only a 6-iron into the green. And on the 18th, with the tees moved up to 481 yards, he hit a drive so far along the downhill fairway that he had only a lob wedge left. He spun that back to a few feet.
He closed out his round on the par-5 ninth, which played 597 yards. He hit 7-wood for his second shot just short of the green to set up an easy birdie.
Garrigus was rightfully proud when he mentioned Thursday evening that he was only the fourth American with four sub-par rounds in the U.S. Open. The others were Lee Trevino at Oak Hill in 1968, Lee Janzen at Baltusrol in 1993 and Curtis Strange at Oakmont in 1994. Strange and Garrigus are the only ones in that group who didn't win.
Even going back to previous AT&T National events at Congressional, Garrigus has quite a record -- this was his 18th round, and he has been over par only three times.
"Everything about this course fits my eye," he said. "If I'm playing well and swinging it good, I feel like I can hit every fairway, just the way everything sets up. They give you perfect targets. There's stuff to aim at. That's what I love."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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