Tiger Trails OMeara McGinley by Six

By Sports NetworkMarch 6, 2004, 5:00 pm
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Mark O'Meara carded a 4-under 68 Saturday to grab a share of the lead through three rounds of the Dubai Desert Classic. O'Meara stands alongside Paul McGinley (69) at 14-under-par 202.
Brian Davis matched McGinley's 69 to move into third place at 11-under-par 205. Paul Casey and Simon Dyson each carded rounds of 2-under 70 to move into a tie for fourth at minus-9. They are joined there by first-round leader Bradley Dredge, who shot an even-par 72.
Tiger Woods seemed to battle his swing throughout the round, but still managed a 3-under 69. He shares seventh place at 8-under-par 208.
After a pair of fog delays the first two days, 78 players finished their second rounds Saturday morning. Among the leaders, Dredge saw the most action Saturday as he played 27 holes.
O'Meara started the third round at Emirates Golf Club one shot behind McGinley. Neither player made a move early as they each posted pars over the first six holes.
The duo finally got on the board with back-to-back birdies from the seventh. At the seventh O'Meara chipped in for birdie to briefly tie McGinley for the lead, but McGinley responded by sinking a 15-footer for birdie to reclaim the top spot.
At the next, O'Meara again birdied to tie the Irishman, but McGinley kicked in a three-footer to stay on top. Both men parred the next three holes around the turn.
O'Meara stumbled to a bogey at the 12th to fall two shots back after a poor tee shot. McGinley, meanwhile, continued to run off pars to stay in front.
O'Meara, who last won in 1998 when he titled at both The Masters and the British Open, began to make his move at the 14th after his approach shot hit the flag stick and stopped within 10 feet of the hole. He rolled in that birdie to get back within one shot of McGinley.
The American then drained a birdie putt from over 30 feet out at the 15th to grab a share of the lead. McGinley was unable to match O'Meara as his birdie try slid past the cup.
O'Meara then grabbed first place by himself at the 16th. He dropped his second shot within four feet and kicked in the birdie putt.
As darkness quickly fell over the course, O'Meara and McGinley with Dredge, their playing partner, rushed to complete the round. As the group ahead of them played out the par-5 18th, O'Meara and McGinley laid up with their second shots.
O'Meara knocked his third within 12 feet before McGinley knocked his third just over the back edge of the green. McGinley returned the favor to O'Meara as he chipped in for birdie and the tie. O'Meara left his birdie try hanging on the edge of the cup as the two men ended side-by-side atop the leaderboard.
'I can't focus on Tiger Woods. Certainly I wouldn't put it past him to come out and make a run tomorrow,' said the 47-year-old O'Meara. 'My concern, really, is to worry about myself. I'm not afraid of Tiger Woods, but I know what he's capable of. I think he's going to have to shoot pretty low tomorrow because I know Paul is playing well and there are other fine players, like Brian Davis, playing well too.'
'Nobody is ruled out of the equation. It's not just me and Mark,' McGinley stated. 'Anybody from six, seven, eight shots back can win if the wind blows because the course is playing that difficult. The course changed completely today. I seemed to be hitting away from the pins all day and if we get some wind tomorrow anybody could win from a long way back.
Woods got his round going with an up-and-down birdie at the par-5 third. At the fifth, he missed the green right and was unable to save par. He closed his front nine by rolling in an extremely long birdie putt on No. 8.
Around the turn, Woods continued to show his frustration. Several times he threw clubs after hitting his second shot, despite a couple of those shots finding the green. He two-putted for birdie at the par-5 13th and closed his round with an eight-foot birdie putt on the 16th.
'I played alright, but I didn't hit the ball all that close to the holes,' said Woods. 'Basically, the only putt I missed all day was on the 18th, but overall it was a pretty good day. Anyone on that leaderboard over there can definitely do it tomorrow.'
Woods is joined at minus-8 by Joakim Haeggman (68), David Howell (70) and Greg Owen (72). Thongchai Jaidee, Peter Lawrie, Jean Van de Velde and Lee Westwood are one stroke further back at 7-under-par 209.

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    Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

    Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

    Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

    Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

    McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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    Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

    By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

    Memo to the golf gods:

    If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

    Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

    It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

    With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

    It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

    We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

    We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

    Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

    We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

    In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

    While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

    Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

    Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

    Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

    While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

    Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

    So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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    McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

    By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

    With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

    The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

    Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

    "I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

    McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

    But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

    "I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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    What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

    Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

    Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

    Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

    Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

    Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x