Westwood shoots 69 for 2-shot lead in Dubai - COPIED

By Associated PressNovember 21, 2009, 5:31 pm

2009 European TourDUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Lee Westwood shot a 3-under 69 Friday to take a two-stroke lead after the second round of the Dubai World Championship, increasing his chance of winning the European money title.

The English golfer put himself in a solid position to pick up two big prizes on Sunday. If he wins the last tournament of the European Tour season, he will receive $1.25 million in prize money – plus a $1.5 million bonus for winning the Race to Dubai money prize.

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, the leader of the money race going into the tournament, also shot a 69. He was one of six players tied for second place at 7 under, two shots behind Westwood.

The others are Ireland’s Padraig Harrington, England’s Ross McGowan, Australia’s Robert Allenby, South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen and Colombia’s Camilo Villegas.

Westwood is confident of winning both prizes Sunday.

“I am as much in control of my game as I have been for a long time,” he said after a round that began with two birdies on the Earth Course. “I feel very calm and happy with myself. All parts of my game feel solid and I enjoy times like this. I know that if I play as good as I can play I can win this tournament.”

Westwood revealed that to maintain his focus he took the advice of his English caddie, Bill Foster, and stopped looking at the leaderboard during his round.

“I have always been a leaderboard watcher,” he said. “But this week we decided to try something different. So we are not looking.”

McIlroy had gone to the top of the leaderboard, reaching 9 under with an eagle at the par-5 7th hole. He covered the front nine in 31 shots. But he slipped backed by missing two putts from inside 3 feet to save par on the 14th and 15th greens.

“I feel I am playing well enough to give myself a shot at the title,” the 20-year-old McIlroy said. “I am still in a good position going into the weekend not to dwell on missed opportunities.”

Harrington, who has won two British Open Championships as well as the 2008 PGA title, was holding the outright lead himself when he reached the par-5 18th. But he found the water his second shot and then, going for the green, put his ball in the stream to the left of the flag.

Harrington finished with a 69 and dropped back to join the group of players in second place. Shortly after that, Westwood sank a 20-foot birdie putt at the same hole to reach 9 under for two rounds.

Allenby, the Australian first-round leader, slipped back after making bogey at his first hole and shot a par 72.

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.


Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”