Simpson leads as Woods, Mickelson head for exit

Webb Simpson seized the lead at the Greenbrier Classic Friday, and the US Open champion won't have to worry about Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson at the weekend.

Woods, fresh from his third victory of the season at the AT&T National, was one stroke outside the projected halfway cut when darkness halted the weather-disrupted second round with a dozen players still on the course.

The 14-time major champion carded a one-under 69, capping it with a birdie at the par-three 18th that left him on even-par 140 with the cut expected at one-under 139.

"I didn't quite have it," Woods said. "I drove it really good today and I just did not have the feel for the distances. The ball was just going forever. I know we're at altitude, but I just couldn't get the ball hit pin high no matter what I did, and subsequently, I made some bogeys."

It's the ninth missed cut in Woods's pro career. He failed to qualify at Quail Hollow earlier this season, making this just the second time he has missed the cut twice in the same year.

In 2005 he missed the cut at both the Byron Nelson Championship and the FUNAI Classic at Walt Disney World Resort.

"I just didn't have feel for my distance control," Woods said. "The ball    was going forever."

Although missed cuts remain a rarity for Woods, he said there was no reason for alarm even with the British Open looming.

"It happens," he said. "We miss cuts out here."

He said distance control won't be a problem at Royal Lytham, where the British Open begins on July 19.

"It's not going to be this warm and we're not going to be at altitude," he said.

Mickelson carded his second straight 71 for two-over 142 after two rounds on the Old White TPC layout, finishing before thunderstorms halted play for more than an hour.

It's the first time Woods and Mickelson have missed the cut in the same tournament as professionals.

Mickelson was at a loss to explain his struggles, not only this year but last year at the same venue.

"I really enjoy the golf course," he said. "I don't get it. I mean, I certainly struggled a little bit on the greens both years, but nothing that should have led to these scores."

"Lefty" has now played seven straight rounds over par, a trend he hopes to reverse at the British Open.

"I certainly am looking forward to links golf," Mickelson said.

Simpson, meanwhile, played without a bogey, nabbing his fourth birdie of the day at the par-three 18th where he rolled in a six-foot putt.

That gave him a nine-under total of 131, lifting him out of a logjam atop the leaderboard.

Simpson led here last year with nine holes to play but faded to finish equal ninth.

Since then he has won his first major title, a triumph at the US Open at The Olympic Club in June.

"I was confident last year, I'm confident this year," Simpson said. "I don't think a whole lot has changed. I learned a lot about myself in the final round last year ... I've got a long ways to go, a bunch of good players right there."

Jonathan Byrd, Charlie Beljan, Jeff Maggert and Jerry Kelly were all in the clubhouse on eight-under 132, while Martin Flores was eight-under through 16 holes when play was halted.

Byrd and Maggert both shot 68s, Kelly carded a 66 that included four birdies and no bogeys, and tour rookie Beljan signed for a career-best 62 that included nine birdies and one bogey.

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