McIlroy's 65 co-leads Dubai; Kaymer's ace has him two back

By Associated PressFebruary 10, 2012, 4:26 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Rory McIlroy and Thomas Bjorn each shot 7-under 65 to share the lead Friday after the second round of the Dubai Desert Classic.

McIlroy made seven birdies, including a 25-yard chip-in on No. 8. He overtook first-round leader Rafael Cabrera-Bello with a 13-under total of 131.

“I was never really under pressure in any point of the round,” said McIlroy, the 2009 champion. “This was very stress-free golf; fairways most of the time, a lot of greens, and gave myself a lot of looks.”


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Bjorn closed with two birdies to tie McIlroy, finishing with five birdies on the back nine. Cabrera-Bello (69) was a shot behind the leaders.

Fourth-ranked Martin Kaymer (67) made a hole-in-one on 16 to trail by two strokes. Third-ranked Lee Westwood (65) birdied his last three holes to reach 10 under.

McIlroy liked his improved driving after inconsistencies led to a second-place finish at the Abu Dhabi Championship two weeks ago.

“I’ve put that right for the most part and felt really confident off the tee,” said McIlroy, whose gallery included girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki.

Bjorn, who beat Tiger Woods to win the tournament in 2001, started his charge on the ninth when he made three straight birdies and closed with another pair for a bogey-free 65.

“I went out and played some solid stuff all day. I’ve done that for quite a long time,” Bjorn said. “I have just got to try and keep focused, keep going with what I am doing. I am not making too many big mistakes out there and that is the key to playing this golf course.”

Kaymer (67) kept pace for much of the day at Emirates Golf Club, holding a share of the lead after 11. But McIlroy birdied the 12th and Kaymer three-putted for a bogey on his 13th. Just when it looked like he might fall down the leaderboard, he made a hole-in-one on his 16th, hitting an 8-iron 180 yards.

“It was very similar to yesterday, hit a lot of good tee shots, a lot of fairways, a lot of good iron shots,” Kaymer said. “I didn’t make a lot of mistakes, so that creates a lot of birdie chances.”

Westwood hit some of the best shots of the day. He closed with three birdies, including on the 16th where his approach shot rolled within a foot of the cup. At 18, his eagle chip skidded past the hole.

“I persevered really,” Westwood said. “I gave myself a lot of chances out there and kept burning the hole. Just left a few putts hanging on the edges and I just had to be really patient and hit closer, and it was nice do that on 16 and 17.”

The string of strong finishes sets up the prospect that three of the world’s top golfers – No. 1-ranked Luke Donald is not here – competing for the title on Sunday.

That was not lost on Kaymer, who has twice beaten second-ranked McIlroy on the final day in Abu Dhabi.

“The only thing that matters is the trophy; to leave Sunday afternoon knowing you have beaten everyone. That is the pure satisfaction,” Kaymer said. “A few players say they want to win, but they don’t want it as much as others. Rory is one of those people. He really wants to win.”

Despite two bogeys, Cabrera-Bello finished with a two birdies over the last three holes for sole possession of third place. The 119th-ranked Spaniard welcomed the chance to compete with the top players this weekend.

“Obviously, they are big names,” Cabrera-Bello said of McIlroy, Kaymer and Westwood. “They are at the top of the world rankings at the moment, so they are very, very experienced players and that’s all good. That means that if I’m playing and competing with them, then my golf is improving.”

Kaymer was 11 under with Scott Jamieson (68) and Gregory Bourdy (67).

Westwood joined Marcel Siem (69) and Stephen Gallacher, who matched McIlroy’s 65.

The low round of the day went to Henrik Stenson of Sweden, who had seven birdies and an eagle to go with two bogeys for a 64. He was tied with Tano Goya at 8 under overall.

John Daly had a 72 and will play on the weekend. Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal shot a 74 to miss the cut.

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Watch: Pieters snaps club ... around his neck

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 1:19 pm

After opening in 3-over 75, Thomas Pieters was in no mood for more poor play on Friday.

Unfortunately for Pieters, he bogeyed two of his first three holes in the second round of the BMW PGA Championship and then didn't like his second shot at the par-5 fourth.

Someone - or some thing - had to pay, and an innocent iron bore the brunt of Pieters' anger.



Pieters made par on the hole, but at 5 over for the tournament, he was five shots off the cut line.

It's not the first time a club has faced Pieters' wrath. 

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Woods would 'love' to see Tour allow shorts

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:59 pm

Players on the European Tour are allowed to wear shorts during practices and pro-ams.

The PGA of America permitted players to show some leg while prepping for last year’s PGA Championship.

Tiger Woods would like to see the PGA Tour follow suit.

"I would love it," he said Thursday in a Facebook Live with Bridgestone Golf. "We play in some of the hottest climates on the planet. We usually travel with the sun, and a lot of our events are played in the summer, and then on top of that when we have the winter months here a lot of the guys go down to South Africa and Australia where it's summer down there.

"It would be nice to wear shorts. Even with my little chicken legs, I still would like to wear shorts."

Caddies are currently allowed to wear shorts on Tour, during events.

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Feasting again: McIlroy shoots 65 to lead BMW PGA

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:04 pm

Updated at 9:42 a.m. ET

Rory McIlroy made seven birdies and no bogeys on Friday for a 7-under 65 and the second-round lead at the BMW PGA Championship.

After opening in 67, McIlroy was among the early groups out on Day 2 at Wentworth Club. He made three birdies and no bogeys on the par-35 front nine on Friday, and then went on a run after the turn.

McIlroy made four consecutive birdies, beginning at the par-5 12th. That got him to 12 under, overall, and gave him a clear advantage over the field. With two closing par-5s, a very low number was in sight. But, as he did on Day 1, McIlroy finished par-par.

"I've made four pars there [on 17 and 18] when I really should be making at least two birdies, but I played the other par-5s well," McIlroy said. "It all balances itself out."


Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship


McIlroy has made 14 birdies and two bogeys through two rounds. At 12 under, he has a three-stroke lead over Sam Horsfield.

"The work has paid off, to some degree," McIlroy said of his practice with swing coach Michael Bannon. "I still feel like I'm hitting some loose shots out there. But, for the most part, it's been really good. If I can keep these swing thoughts and keep going in the right direction, hopefully this is the type of golf I'll be able to produce."

This event has been feast or famine for McIlroy. He won here in 2014, but has three missed cuts in his other three starts. This week, however, he’ll be around for the weekend and is in position for his first European Tour victory since the 2016 Irish Open and his second worldwide victory of the year (Arnold Palmer Invitational).

"I have the confidence that I'm playing well and I can go out and try to just replicate what I did the day before," McIlroy said about his weekend approach with the lead. "On the first tee box tomorrow I'll be thinking about what I did today. Trying to just keep the same thoughts, make the same swings. I went a couple better today than I did yesterday. I'm not sure I'll keep that progression going but something similiar tomorrow would be nice."

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Goat visor propels Na to Colonial lead

By Will GrayMay 25, 2018, 1:29 am

Jason Dufner officially has some company in the headwear free agency wing of the PGA Tour.

Like Dufner, Kevin Na is now open to wear whatever he wants on his head at tournaments, as his visor sponsorship with Titleist ended earlier this month. He finished T-6 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in his second tournament as a free agent, and this week at the Fort Worth Invitational he's once again wearing a simple white visor with a picture of a goat.

"I bought it at The Players Championship for $22 with the 30 percent discount that they give the Tour players," Na told reporters. "It's very nice."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Perhaps a change in headwear was just what Na needed to jumpstart his game. Last week's result in Dallas was his first top-35 finish in his last six events dating back to February, and he built upon that momentum with an 8-under 62 to take a one-shot lead over Charley Hoffman after the first round at Colonial Country Club.

While many sports fans know the "GOAT" acronym to stand for "Greatest Of All Time," it's a definition that the veteran Na only learned about earlier this year.

"I do social media, but they kept calling Tiger the GOAT. I go, 'Man, why do they keep calling Tiger the GOAT? That's just mean,'" Na said. "Then I realized it meant greatest of all time. Thinking of getting it signed by Jack (Nicklaus) next week (at the Memorial)."