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Bubba wins birdie duel for Doral lead

DORAL — Bubba Watson and Justin Rose put on an impressive show of birdies in blustery conditions, making 17 between them while playing in the same group Friday at the World Golf Championships Cadillac Championship.

Their duel was decided by Watson's eagle, giving him 10-under 62 and a one-shot lead at 12-under 132.

Watson belted a 3-iron that barely got over a palm tree, carried over the water into the wind and settled 6 feet away on the par-5 eighth for an eagle putt that gave him a one-shot lead over Rose (64).

"Not a big fan of No. 18," said Watson, who tied his career low for a round. "I normally play it really bad. If you go back in the history of me playing this tournament, it's not very good.

"It's just one of those things. I just played good. When you hit the ball well and you putt good, every golf course you can score on."

Mark Wilson, the third in that group, shot a respectable 70 and was just along for the ride.

"They did everything right," Wilson said. "It was some of the best golf I've seen collectively between them."

Watson gets to play again in the final group today with Rose. "I don't let it influence my game plan, the way I play the golf course, but definitely you keep one eye on him just out of interest," Rose said. "He's a fun guy to watch play golf."

Despite steady wind, there were plenty of low scores on the Blue Monster. The average score was 69.9, close to three strokes easier than the opening round. There were 12 scores in the 60s on Thursday and 31 of them Friday.

Tiger Woods played bogey-free for 67 and lost ground. He moved up the leaderboard but was seven shots behind going into the weekend, with 14 players ahead of him.

"This is the highest score I could have shot (Friday), for sure," Woods said.

Rory McIlroy, in his first tournament as the new world No. 1, shot 69 and fell 10 off the lead.

Adam Scott holed a 20-foot putt for a birdie-birdie finish that allowed him to recover from a double bogey on the eighth hole. He shot 68 and was at 10-under 134, two shots out of the lead.

"Right where I want to be," Scott said. "The guys shot some unbelievably good scores out there (Friday), so I knew on that back nine as I was kind of falling a long way behind, I needed to step it up."

PGA: Matt Jones shot 5-under 67 to open a three-stroke lead over George McNeill (70) in the Puerto Rico Open at Rio Grande. Jones, tied with McNeill for the first-round lead, had a bogey-free morning round to reach 11-under 133. Ryo Ishikawa was four strokes back at 7 under after shooting 67.

Bubba wins birdie duel for Doral lead 03/09/12 [Last modified: Friday, March 9, 2012 11:36pm]

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