McIlroy leads Garcia in Dubai Woods four back

By Associated PressFebruary 11, 2011, 2:28 pm
European TourDUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Tiger Woods surged into contention at the Dubai Desert Classic on Friday, shooting a bogey-free 6-under 66 in his bid to win his first tournament in more than a year.

With stellar putting and a consistent short game, Woods made six birdies for the day’s low score. He was at 7-under 137 after two rounds, four shots behind leader Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy followed his opening 65 with a 68 to maintain his lead going into the weekend at Emirates Golf Club. The 21-year-old golfer from Northern Ireland earned his only European Tour victory at this tournament two years ago.

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods hit 13 of 18 greens in regulation Friday and took 25 putts. (Getty Images)
A shot behind at 10 under were Sergio Garcia (67) and South Africa’s Thomas Aiken (67), followed by England’s Steve Webster (68) at 8 under.

Woods was tied for fifth with Jean-Baptiste Gonnet of France, Anders Hansen of Denmark, Michael Hoey of Northern Ireland and Brett Rumford of Australia.

Woods, who has been outdriving his playing partners, No. 1-ranked Lee Westwood and No. 2 Martin Kaymer, added accuracy to his blistering drives and approach shots. And unlike Thursday when he missed several makable putts and hit approach shots wide of the green, the winner of 14 majors routinely gave himself chances.

“It felt good today. I hit a lot of good shots,” said Woods, who likened his game on Friday to the way he played at last year’s Chevron World Challenge, where he lost in a playoff to U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell.

“I felt like I drove it pretty good and more than anything I controlled my traj (trajectory), which was nice,” he said. “I feel good. We worked out a few of the things last night that I didn’t like.”

McIlroy has struggled to meet expectations since winning the Quail Hollow Championship last year. He says he’s approaching his game with more patience, and it seems to be paying dividends – he finished second in last month’s Abu Dhabi Championship.

McIlroy bogeyed the par-4 second hole then settled himself with five birdies over his last 12 holes, including the 18th for the second straight day.

“I thought after the start that I had, I really hung in there and stayed patient and just sort of picked up my birdies when I could,” McIlroy said. “I think I was 5 under from 7 onwards. So, really pleased with the round, and sets me up for a good weekend.”

Much of the talk going into the tournament was on the powerhouse group of Woods, Westwood and Kaymer. But only Woods delivered on Friday, with Westwood (70) at 5-under 139 and Kaymer (71) at 4 under.

Westwood had four birdies but bogeyed two of his last four holes, missing two makable putts. Kaymer, meanwhile, never seemed to get going, posting three birdies but also two bogeys in a row during his first six holes.

“I didn’t hit it so good. I didn’t give myself enough chances,” Westwood said. “It was just a plod round really, a bit of a boring day.”

Westwood, who last year struggled with a calf injury, said his distance has been suffering as has his control. It showed on approach shots that fell short, leaving him long putts on several holes that just missed.

“Distance control is poor when you are not striking it very well,” he said. “I’m just playing for the fat of the greens really and trying to make a few long ones which I haven’t, which is the reason I’m 5 under. Still in there with a chance.”

Aiken, ranked 97th and known as much for his shoulder-length hair as for his swing, has 67s in the first two rounds.

“Missed one green the whole day and I was on the fringe and I got to putt,” he said. “Just been putting the ball in the right positions, and these greens are so pure that you’re going to sink some putts.”

Garcia, once ranked No. 2 but now No. 79, has shown the consistency this week that had been lacking last year. He has had two bogey-free rounds.

“I think that probably putting has been the thing I’m doing the best these past three weeks,” said Garcia, who had a top-10 finish in Qatar last week. “It’s nice to see my game, my long game catching up with that.”

There was more at stake this weekend than 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 for the first time if Westwood finishes out of the top 36. Woods could move ahead of Kaymer if he wins and Kaymer finishes outside the top five.

Woods, who won this tournament in 2006 and 2008, said he could do even better going into a weekend where much stronger wind is forecast. Still, he said he relished his second round, calling his sixth hole emblematic of his day.

Woods drove the fairway on the 485-yard, par-4 hole and hit an 8-iron about 160 yards to a foot of the pin, where he made an easy birdie putt. Much as he did with a monster drive on 18 on Thursday that led to an eagle, the shot brought cheers from the crowd and a reminder of how good Woods can be when he gets his game on track.

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.