Woods Lurking Five Back in Dubai

By Sports NetworkFebruary 2, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 Dubai Desert ClassicDUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Tiger Woods will cast a formidable shadow over the rest of the field this weekend at the Dubai Desert Classic.
Ross Fisher is doing his best to stay out of it.
Fisher fired his second consecutive 7-under 65 Friday and held the lead when the second round was suspended because of darkness following a lengthy mid-afternoon weather delay.
Ross Fisher
Jeff Fisher is the surprise leader at the Dubai Desert Classic. (Wire Images)
The Englishman stands at 14-under-par 130 -- two shots ahead of three-time champion Ernie Els, who posted a birdie and an eagle after the delay to get to 12 under through 14 holes.
Sweden's Peter Hanson (65) and Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell (69) are in the clubhouse at 10-under-par 134. Henrik Stenson is 10 under through 14 holes.
Sitting another shot further back, and within five strokes of the lead, is Woods.
The world's No. 1 golfer, and the defending champion at Emirates Golf Club, shot a 5-under 67 in the second round and is five shots behind Fisher at 9-under 135.
One week after extending his PGA TOUR winning streak to seven, Woods is taking part in the third and final event of the European Tour's so-called 'Gulf Swing.'
He put together a bogey-free second round with four birdies in his first nine holes -- the back nine -- but had just one more the rest of the way. For the second day in a row, Woods needed 29 putts to finish his round.
He averaged 29 putts per day in winning the Buick Invitational last week.
'It was frustrating. I had great speed on the greens again but wasn't really starting the ball on line,' Woods said. 'I just don't feel like I made many putts today. Actually, it was kind of weird.'
Woods is two shots worse than his 36-hole score a year ago, when he finished 67-69 before beating Els in a playoff.
That was Woods' 25th victory on the European Tour schedule. Following a spectacular 2006 season, Woods now has 29 -- tied for fifth all-time behind only Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie.
Fisher, who shared the lead with McDowell overnight, began his round with a 40-foot birdie putt at the first hole and followed that with another birdie at the second.
He bogeyed No. 6 for the second day in a row -- the par-4 has produced his only two dropped shots -- but followed that with six more birdies, including three straight to finish the round.
Fisher, 26, is playing in just his second season on the European Tour. His only 36-hole lead came at last season's South African Airways Open, where he finished tied for ninth.
'To lead any tournament is quite a thrill,' Fisher said. 'I feel so comfortable and calm and relaxed on the course at the moment.'
Fisher's best finish was a tie for third place at the Singapore Masters last March.
'You have got to keep putting yourself in contention,' he said. 'Every guy's dream is to win a European Tour event. That's what we all come out here for and I don't think my mind set is any different. I know deep down I am good enough and I feel like I belong out here and am ready to win.'
Play was suspended for 2 hours and 15 minutes because of bad weather. It resumed at 4:40 p.m. local time (7:40 a.m. ET) but was suspended for good several hours later.
When players return to the course Saturday morning, Els will have four holes remaining to catch Fisher. He played Nos. 15-18 at 2 under par in the first round.
Meaning Els will probably be in the final third-round group with Fisher.
'It's going to be a totally different to what I have experienced before,' Fisher described playing with someone like Els. 'This weekend could be the biggest crowd I've ever played in front of.
'But at the end of the day, this is what we want to try and do. That's what I want to try and achieve -- to win golf tournaments, that's why I turn up.'
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard
  • Full Coverage - Dubai Desert Classic
  • Golf Channel Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

    Getty Images

    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

    Getty Images

    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

    Getty Images

    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.