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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    Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.

    The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.

    The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.

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    This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.

    After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.

    “I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”

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    Lyle birdies last hole in likely his final Open start

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – If this was Sandy Lyle’s final Open appearance, he went out in style.

    Playing on the final year of his automatic age exemption, the 60-year-old Scot buried a 30-foot birdie on the last hole. He missed the cut after shooting 9-over 151 over two rounds.

    “I was very light-footed,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. To make birdie was extra special.”

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    Lyle, who also won the 1988 Masters, has missed the cut in his last eight majors, dating to 2014. He hasn’t been competitive in The Open since 1998, when he tied for 19th.

    To continue playing in The Open, Lyle needed to finish in the top 10 here at Carnoustie. He’d earn a future exemption by winning the Senior British Open.

    “More punishment,” he said.

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    DJ, Thomas miss cut at Open; No. 1 up for grabs

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:35 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The top two players in the world both missed the cut at The Open, creating the possibility of a shakeup at the top of the rankings by the end of the weekend.

    Dustin Johnson became the first world No. 1 since Luke Donald in 2011 to miss the cut at the year’s third major.

    Johnson played solidly for all but the closing stretch. Over two rounds, he was 6 over par on the last three holes. He finished at 6-over 148.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

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    Thomas added to what’s been a surprisingly poor Open record. Just like last year, when he struggled in the second round in the rain at Royal Birkdale, Thomas slumped to a 77 on Friday at Carnoustie, a round that included three consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 6-8. He finished at 4-over 146.

    It’s Thomas' first missed cut since The Open last year. Indeed, in three Open appearances, he has two missed cuts and a tie for 53rd.  

    With Johnson and Thomas out of the mix, the No. 1 spot in the rankings is up for grabs this weekend.

    Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all can reach No. 1 with a victory this week.

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    TT Postscript: Woods (71) makes cut, has work to do

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 3:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods shot a second consecutive even-par 71 Friday in the second round. And yes, he made the cut:

    • Tiger said all 71s are not created equal. On Thursday, he made three birdies and three bogeys. On Friday, he made four birdie and four bogeys. Which round was better? The first. His theory is that, despite the rain, conditions were easier in the second round and there were more scoring opportunities. He didn't take advantage.

    • This is the first time since the 2013 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that Tiger shot par or better in each of the first two rounds of a major. That’s quite a long time ago.

    • Stat line for the day: 11 of 15 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 32 total putts. Tiger hit one driver and two 3-woods on Thursday and four drivers on Friday, only one which found the fairway. An errant drive at the second led to him sniping his next shot into the gallery


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    • In his own words: “I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit. I got off to not exactly the best start, being 2 over through three, but got it back. The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rains, and we were able to get the ball down a little bit further, control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice.”

    • At some point Tiger is going to have to be more aggressive. He will be quite a few shots off the lead by day’s end and he'll have a lot of ground to make up. Hitting irons off the tee is great for position golf, but it’s often leaving him more than 200 yards into the green. Not exactly a range for easy birdies.

    • Sure, it’s too soon to say Tiger can’t win a fourth claret jug, but with so many big names ahead of him on the leaderboard, it’s unlikely. Keep in mind that a top-six finish would guarantee him a spot in the WGC: Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks. At The Players, he stated that this was a big goal.

    • My Twitter account got suspended momentarily when Tiger was standing over a birdie putt on the 17th green. That was the most panicked I’ve been since Tiger was in contention at the Valspar.