Woods falls short in Dubai with 3-over final round

By Associated PressFebruary 13, 2011, 6:15 pm
European TourDUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Alvaro Quiros of Spain won the Dubai Desert Classic with a wild final round on Sunday that included a hole-in-one and triple bogey as Tiger Woods’ fell out of contention early and lost his bid to win his first tournament in 15 months.

On a day when the leaderboard constantly changed, the 36th-ranked Quiros shot a 68 to finish with an 11-under 277, one shot better than overnight co-leader Anders Hansen of Denmark and James Kingston of South Africa. A shot further back were Jean-Baptiste Gonnet of France, Scott Strange of Australia and Alvaro Velasco of Spain.

Woods, who started the final day a shot off the lead, began his round badly for a second straight day with two bogeys in his first three holes and never recovered. The 3rd-ranked 35-year-old is still seeking his first tournament trophy in more than a year after falling well short with a final round 3-over 75 and ending tied for 20th with a total of 4-under 284.

“There were quite a few positives this week but a couple of glaring examples of what I need to work on,” Woods said. “It’s like anything. All my old feels (for the clubs) are out the window when the winds blow. That’s the thing when you are making change. It’s fine when the wind is not blowing. But when you have to hit a shot when the wind blows … the new swing patterns get exposed.”

Coming into Sunday, it was still anyone’s tournament to win and several big names along with Woods seemed poised for victory. Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy was tied at the top with Hansen and a resurgent Sergio Garcia of Spain was tied with Woods and five others a shot back. Twenty players were within three shots of the lead and many of them made runs on Sunday including the 148th-ranked Kingston who was three shots off the lead.

But it was Quiros who struck early with an eagle on the second and two birdies on the next three holes to stake himself to a three-shot lead. But just as dramatically, he fell back into a tie with Hansen and several others at 8 under when he triple bogeyed the eighth hole – hitting an unplayable drive and then a second shot into a tree.

But he recovered quickly with a birdie on nine and then a dramatic hole-in-one on the 11th, hitting a wedge 145 yards that landed on the green and rolled into the hole. It gave him back the lead.

But just as quickly, Quiros gave it up to Hansen after he bogeyed the 14th and Hansen eagled the 13th. Hansen could have at least tied it but missed several birdie putts on the way in including a 30-footer on the 18th to finish the round on 2-under 70.

“It was incredible for you guys outside but for me it was a difficult situation,” Quiros said of his fifth European Tour victory that will move him up the rankings to 21st. “The beginning of the day was perfect but after the eighth hole I was shaken.”

But, he added, victory was in sight after the hole-in-one.

“It was the perfect shot. Once a year, it happens,” he said. “It was a big point in the round. After the 10th hole, I was second or third with some of the other guys and then after the hole-in-one I was the leader.”

The 70th-ranked Hansen, who had his best finish since finishing second at last year’s Singapore Open, was left to rue his missed chances.

“Obviously, a little disappointed,” Hansen said. “I gave myself a chance after leading and got myself out of it early but brought myself back in it. Thought I played nicely but Alvaro played great.”

Woods was not alone among the big names on the star-studded leaderboard to falter down the stretch.

Garcia, who lost the lead Saturday after carding two bogeys and a double bogey, had similar problems Sunday. He briefly tied for the lead after a birdie on the opening hole, but fell back with a bogey on the fifth and ended his chances on the ninth with a triple bogey when his ball ended up in the water. The former No. 2-ranked Spaniard finished with a 3-over 75 to finish in a tie for 20th.

McIlroy lost the lead early after opening with a bogey. He pulled two shots back with birdies on the third and 10th, but trailing by three shots, he fell back down the leaderboard after carding three consecutive bogeys on the back nine to finish with a 2-over 74 and in a tie for 10th.

Top-ranked Lee Westwood quietly made a run on Sunday, moving to 8 under with four holes to play. But then he endured a double-bogey on 17 when his ball got stuck in a tree and ended with a bogey on 18 to finish on even par and in a tie for 15th.

“That will piss you off pretty quickly, won’t it, sticking it up a palm tree when you think you have a chance of winning,” Westwood said.

But Westwood said he took several positives away from a weekend where he initially struggled with distance and control and only started making his putts on Sunday. It was an improvement over Qatar where he missed the cut and the Abu Dhabi Championship where he finished 64th.

“Positives are I had a chance to win,” Westwood said. “First long putt I’ve made all week was on the 14th. I haven’t played my best, and had a chance with two holes to play to post a total that would have been probably half decent, I guess 10 under, if I could have birdied the last two holes. Plenty to take out of it.”

After his early struggles that echoed his difficulties Saturday, Woods managed to claw a shot back when his approach shot on the 6th ended a few feet from the pin. However, Woods twice followed a birdie on the back nine with a bogeys and then double bogeyed the 18th to end his chances for good.

Woods, who won in Dubai in 2006 and 2008, is now in the midst of the longest victory drought of his career. His last win came at the Australian Masters in November 2009.

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Watch: Tiger 'drops mic' in long drive contest

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 20, 2018, 12:44 am

Tiger Woods is in Las Vegas this weekend for the 20th annual Tiger Jam charity event that benefits his foundation.

During the tournament on Saturday afternoon, Woods challenged World Long Drive competitor Troy Mullins to a long drive contest.

 

A post shared by TROY MULLINS (@trojangoddess) on May 19, 2018 at 1:25pm PDT

Safe to say it looks like Tiger won.

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Sunday showdown for Wise, Leishman at Nelson

By Will GrayMay 19, 2018, 11:40 pm

DALLAS – While the swirling Texas winds may still have their say, the AT&T Byron Nelson is shaping up to be a two-horse race.

With a four-shot gulf between them and their closest pursuers, co-leaders Marc Leishman and Aaron Wise both stepped up to the microphone and insisted the tournament was far from over. That it wouldn’t revert to a match-play situation, even though the two men didn’t face much pressure from the pack down the stretch of the third round and have clearly distanced themselves as the best in the field through 54 holes.

But outside of an outlier scenario or a rogue tornado sweeping across Trinity Forest Golf Club, one of the two will leave with trophy in hand tomorrow night.

That’s in part because of their stellar play to this point, but it’s also a byproduct of the tournament’s new and unconventional layout: at Trinity Forest, big numbers are hard to find.

Even with the winds picking up during the third round and providing the sternest challenge yet, the field combined for only 16 scores of double bogey, and nothing worse than that.


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There’s irony in a course called Trinity Forest offering a tree-less test, sure, but there are also no water hazards in play here. For the most part, players have been maxing out with bogey – and Leishman and Wise have combined for only six of those so far this week.

If someone from the chase pack is going to catch them, the two sharing the pole position aren’t going to do them any favors.

“I don’t really want to give them a chance,” Leishman said. “I’d love to go out and shoot a low one and make Aaron have to shoot a good score tomorrow to beat me, which, I fully expect him to shoot a good score.”

While Leishman has been somewhat of a late bloomer on the PGA Tour, with only one win across his first eight seasons, he now has a golden opportunity to add a third trophy in the last 14 months. He has felt right at home on a sprawling layout that reminds him of a few back in his native Australia, and he’s part of a Down Under invasion on a leaderboard that also includes Matt Jones (-13) and Adam Scott (-9).

While Wise briefly held sole possession of the lead, Leishman has seemingly held an iron grip on the top spot since opening his week with a blistering 61.

“Before last year, I was a pretty slow starter. I always got off to a slow start Thursday, or I’d be fighting to make the cut and have a good weekend to slide into the top 10,” Leishman said. “Getting into that round straight away on the first tee rather than the ninth green or something, which sounds like a really basic thing, but it’s something I didn’t do very well until last year.”

But as Leishman acknowledged, he likely can’t count on a stumble from Wise to help finish off a wire-to-wire victory. As the youngest player to make the cut this week, Wise is facing a challenge of taking down a top-ranked Aussie for the second time in as many starts.

While he came up short at the Wells Fargo Championship, tying for second behind Jason Day, he remains supremely confident that he can put those hard-earned lessons to use this time around.

“I feel like it’s a great opportunity,” Wise said. “It will obviously be a huge day for me. I feel like having one go at it already, I’m a little more confident going into it this time.”

Even among the landscape of the Tour’s promising next wave, Wise stands out as a particularly young gun. Still only 21, he could feasibly be heading to Karsten Creek next week with his Oregon Duck teammates to close out his senior season with another NCAA championship appearance.

But Wise turned pro after winning the NCAA individual title as a sophomore, and he steadily worked his way through the professional ranks: first a win on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada, then one last summer on the Web.com Tour.

Now he’s poised to turn what he described as a “lackluster” season before his Quail Hollow runner-up into one that defies even his own expectations.

“Absolutely, I am way ahead of the curve. It’s pretty hard to do what I’ve done at such a young age. Only a few have done it,” Wise said. “I feel like I’m getting some great experience for a kid this young. It’s only going to serve me well down the road.”

An unpredictable Coore-Crenshaw layout will have one more day to star, and outside of Wise the top six names on the leaderboard have at least one Tour win to their credit. But after the two men traded punches on a firm and fast afternoon, it sure feels like the final round is shaping up to offer more of the same.

For Leishman, it’s a chance to add another notch to some quickly expanding credentials; for Wise, it’s an opportunity to win on the one level he has yet to do so.

“It’s golf, at the end of the day. If you play better than everyone else, you’re going to win,” Wise said. “That’s why I play it. That’s why I love this sport, and tomorrow is nothing different.”

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5 thoughts from NCAA Women's Championship Day 2

By Ryan LavnerMay 19, 2018, 11:35 pm

The field is almost halfway through stroke-play qualifying at the NCAA Women’s Championship. Here are some thoughts on the first two days at Karsten Creek:

1. UCLA is on a mission. Just a year ago, the Bruins were headed home from regionals after becoming the first No. 1 seed that failed to advance out of the qualifying tournament. This year, with the core of the team still mostly intact, the Bruins have opened up a five-shot lead on top-ranked Alabama and a comfortable 16-shot cushion over Southern Cal in third place. On one of the most difficult college courses in the country, UCLA has received contributions from all four of its usual counters – standout Lilia Vu shot 68 on Saturday, while Mariel Galdiano posted a 69. Freshman Patty Tavatanakit and junior Bethany Wu also broke par. This is a strong, deep lineup that will pose issues for teams not just in stroke-play qualifying, but also the head-to-head, match-play bracket.

2. What happened to Arkansas? Riding high off their first SEC Championship and a dominant regional performance, the Razorbacks were considered one of the top threats to win the national title. But entering Sunday’s third round of stroke play, they need to hold it together just to ensure they make the top-15 cut. Arkansas is 32 over par through two rounds. The Razorbacks had shot in the 300s just once this season in the play-five, count-four format. Here at Karsten Creek, they’ve now done so in consecutive rounds.

3. The Player of the Year race is heating up. With a decent showing at nationals, Arkansas’ Maria Fassi should have been able to wrap up the Annika Award, given annually to the top player in the country. She has six individual titles, plays a difficult schedule and is well-liked among her peers. But through two rounds she’s a whopping 15 over par while spraying it all over the map. If the Razorbacks don’t survive the 54-hole cut, neither will Fassi. That’d open the door for another player to steal the votes, whether it’s UCLA’s Vu or Wake Forest’s Jennifer Kupcho. There’s a lot still to be decided.

4. Stanford has steadied itself. One of the biggest surprises on Day 1 was the horrendous start by the Cardinal, one of just two teams to advance to match play each of the three years it’s been used to determine a national champion. They were 19 over for their first nine holes Friday, but instead of a blowup round that cost them a shot at the title, they’ve found a way to hang tough. Stanford has been just 4 over par over its last 27 holes. Andrea Lee made only one bogey during her second-round 69, Albane Valenzuela eagled the 18th hole for a 73 and senior leader Shannon Aubert – who has been a part of each postseason push – carded a 74. And so, even with its early struggles, coach Anne Walker once again has Stanford in position to reach match play.

5. Karsten Creek is identifying the best teams. The top teams in the country want a difficult host venue for NCAAs – it helps separate the field and draws an unmistakable line between the contenders and pretenders. Only one team (UCLA) is under par after 36 holes. Fewer than a dozen players are under par individually. The dearth of low scores might not be the greatest advertisement for how talented these players are, but the cream has still risen to the top so far: Five top-10 teams currently sit inside the top 7 on the leaderboard (and that doesn’t even include last year’s NCAA runner-up Northwestern). This is all any coach wants, even if the scores aren’t pretty.

Quick hits: Cheyenne Knight, part of Alabama’s vaunted 1-2-3 punch along with Lauren Stephenson and Kristen Gillman, shot rounds of 70-69 to figure in the mix for individual honors. The junior will turn pro after nationals. …  Arizona’s Bianca Pagdanganan made a hole-in-one on the 11th hole Saturday en route to a 68 that tied the low round of the day. She’s at 5-under 139, same as Knight. ... Defending champion Arizona State, which lost star Linnea Strom to the pro ranks at the halfway point of the season, is 35 over par after two rounds. … Play was delayed for nearly an hour and a half Saturday because of inclement weather.

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Wise (21) makes Leishman (34) feel a little old

By Will GrayMay 19, 2018, 10:55 pm

DALLAS – With the final round of the AT&T Byron Nelson likely to take on a match-play feel, Marc Leishman likes his chances to close out another win – even if his opponent makes him feel a little old.

Leishman, 34, shares the lead at Trinity Forest Golf Club with 21-year-old Aaron Wise, who was the youngest player to make the cut at the tournament’s new venue. The two men will start the final round at 17 under, four shots clear of their next-closest pursuers.

Leishman played the third round alongside Wise and Brian Gay, and he originally didn’t realize just how fresh-faced his fellow co-leader is.


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“He’s a solid player for, I heard this morning he’s only 21. I didn’t realize that,” Leishman said. “I guess I was in high school before he was born, so that’s – I don’t know. You hear guys talk about that all the time but I’ve never said that, I think. Yeah, he’s a good player.”

Wise won the 2016 NCAA individual title while at Oregon, and he opted to turn pro after his sophomore season. While he could have been capping his senior season with a return to the NCAAs next week, Wise is pleased with the career choice and remains eager for a chance to close out his first career PGA Tour win against a seasoned veteran.

“I feel like I’m in a great spot for tomorrow,” Wise said. “I feel like I’m getting some great experience for a kid this young. It’s only going to serve me well down the road.”