Tiger Big Easy Open Strong in Dubai

By Associated PressFebruary 1, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 Dubai Desert ClassicDUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Ross Fisher and Graeme McDowell fired rounds of 7-under-par 65 Thursday to share the lead after the opening round of the Dubai Desert Classic.
World No. 1 and defending champion Tiger Woods posted a 4-under-par 68 and is tied for 10th after the opening round at Emirates Golf Club.
Ernie Els, a three-time winner of this event, is tied for third after carding a 66 Thursday. Els was joined at minus-6 by Jyoti Randhawa and Jose Manuel Lara.
Woods did not do much during his opening nine holes. He bogeyed the second, but atoned for that mistake with a birdie on three. After that, he cruised to six pars in a row.
The 31-year-old Woods, who won his seventh straight PGA TOUR start last weekend at the Buick Invitational, started to move up the leaderboard with back-to-back birdies from the 11th.
After chipping in for the second of those two birdies, Woods stumbled at the 12th. He came up short, left of the green with his approach and was unable to save par. Woods came right back with a birdie on 13 to get back to minus-2.
Woods drained a 14-foot birdie effort on the par-3 15th, then closed with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 18th to end three back.
'I hit the ball well today, a couple of loose ones with my irons, but overall I feel I had control of the ball,' stated Woods. 'I've just got to get organized on the greens. The greens themselves are absolutely perfect, you just have to get them started on line and I didn't do that very well today.'
Fisher started on the back nine and posted his first birdie at the 13th. He birdied three of four holes from the 15th to make the turn at minus-4.
The Englishman ran off three straight birdies from the second to get to minus- 7. Fisher faltered to a bogey on six, but erased that mistake with a birdie on eight. He parred the last for his share of the lead.
McDowell was just 1 under through nine with a birdie and eight pars on the front nine. He moved to minus-2 with a birdie on 10.
The Ulsterman eagled the 13th and birdied 14 to jump to 5 under. McDowell converted back-to-back birdie efforts from the 16th to tie Fisher in the lead.
'As far as my game is concerned, there are a lot of positives in there,' said McDowell. 'It is hard to put an exact number on it, but I would think it feels about 75 percent. But I do feel like many parts of my game have improved immensely and I'm very happy where it is right now.'
Miguel Angel Jimenez, a two-time runner-up here, carded a 5-under-par 67 Thursday. He was joined in a tie for sixth by Simon Dyson, Thongchai Jaidee and Phillip Price.
Woods stands alongside Raphael Jacquelin, Prom Meesawat, Darren Clarke, Cesar Monasterio, Marcel Siem, Henrik Stenson and Lee Westwood at minus-4.
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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”

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    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.

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    Landry stays hot, leads desert shootout at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 12:35 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Andrew Landry topped the crowded CareerBuilder Challenge leaderboard after another low-scoring day in the sunny Coachella Valley.

    Landry shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course to reach 16 under. He opened with a 63 on Thursday at La Quinta Country Club.

    Jon Rahm, the first-round leader after a 62 at La Quinta, was a stroke back. He had two early bogeys in a 67 on the Nicklaus layout.

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    Jason Kokrak was 14 under after a 67 at Nicklaus. Two-time major champion Zach Johnson was 13 under along with Michael Kim and Martin Piller. Johnson had a 64 at Nicklaus.

    Landry, Rahm, Kokrak and Johnson will finish the rotation Saturday at PGA West's Stadium Course, also the site of the final round.

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    Mickelson 'displeased' with iron play; 10 back

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:18 am

    All of Phil Mickelson’s offseason work on his driver has paid off through two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    His iron play? Not as sharp, and it’s the reason why he heads into the weekend 10 shots off the lead.

    “I’ve been pretty pleased, overall, with the way I’ve been driving the ball, and very displeased with the way my iron game has been,” said Mickelson, who shot 68 Friday on PGA West’s Nicklaus course. He has hit only 21 of 36 greens so far this week. “Usually my iron play is a lot better than what it’s been. So I’ll go work on it and hopefully improve each round in this tournament and build a solid foundation for the upcoming West Coast events.

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    “I feel like if I continue to drive the ball the way I am, and if I got my iron play back to my normal standard, I should have the results that I’ve been expecting.”

    Mickelson, of course, is always bullish this time of year, but he has been able to find 10 of 14 fairways each of the past two rounds, including at narrower La Quinta Country Club, which doesn’t always fit his eye.

    “This is actually the best I’ve driven it in a lot of years,” he said.

    Currently in a tie for 67th, Mickelson will need a solid round on the more difficult Stadium course Saturday to ensure that he makes the 54-hole cut. He hasn’t missed a cut in his first West Coast event of the new year since 2009.