McIlroy jumps out to lead at Dubai Desert Classic

By Associated PressFebruary 10, 2011, 5:59 pm
European TourDUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Rory McIlroy shot a 7-under 65 Thursday to take the lead after the first round of the Dubai Desert Classic, four shots better than Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer and six ahead of Tiger Woods.

McIlroy, whose only European Tour win came in Dubai two years ago, had eight birdies to go with one bogey at the Emirates Golf Club.

Woods shot a 71 and struggled early in the day, twice going to 2 over. But he eagled the 18th hole after hitting a 3-wood about 250 yards to the green.

“It was one of those days where I fought hard,” Woods said. “Unfortunately, I got to 2-over par on two different occasions. I was 2 over early, I got it back, birdieing 10, 11, threw it right away again with a double on 12 and got it back to under for the day. All in all, I think a positive result.”

Much of the buzz coming into the opening round centered on the grouping that included the world’s top three golfers. But only the top-ranked Westwood threatened by reaching 4-under before dropping a shot on the final hole to fall into a tie with Kaymer at 3 under.

“I played well. I played solidly. I didn’t make too many mistakes,” Westwood said. “It was disappointing to shoot 1 over for the last two holes. One under would have been nice.”

The seventh-ranked McIlroy, who was runner-up in last month’s Abu Dhabi Championship, took the early lead and held it. He is two shots ahead of Sergio Garcia (67) and Thomas Aiken (67). Five others trail by another shot, including Danny Willett, Steve Webster and Jean-Baptiste Gonnet.

“Today was good,” the 21-year-old McIlroy said. “I really had a lot of iron shots and got away with a couple of drives that I was quite fortunate to make birdies from. I had a putt for a 64 on the last that didn’t quite go in. but I’ll take 65 in these conditions any day.”

The Northern Irishman came into the tournament saying he felt he should be winning more tournaments. Along with his win in Dubai, he won the Quail Hollow Championship in 2009. He said he was benefiting from the work he has done on his swing in the offseason and this week.

“With the big three being paired together, I tried to go in a little under the radar,” McIlroy said. “It was nice to get a good round in there early.”

Much like McIlroy, Garcia has been overhauling his game and trying to return to the form that had him ranked as high as No. 2. The Spaniard has been in the news more for missing cuts than winning tournaments – though his game has improved with a top-10 finish in Qatar last weekend. He is ranked 79th.

“You know, it’s slowly getting there,” Garcia said. “Still needs to improve, and there will be some not nice rounds coming. This is just the beginning.”

Defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez (72) was in the mix until the final four holes, when he had two double-bogeys.

There is more at stake this weekend than just the tournament title.

Westwood could lose the top ranking if Kaymer wins and he finishes lower than second, and if Kaymer finishes second and Westwood is out of the top 10. If Kaymer is tied for second, he could still become No. 1 if Westwood finishes out of the top 36.

Woods could move ahead of Kaymer if he wins and Kaymer finishes outside the top five.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.