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McIlroy, Woods set up for showdown

NORTON, Mass. — Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods played together in the opening two rounds of the season in Abu Dhabi. They were together again for the opening two rounds at Bethpage Black for the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs. The idea is to get them together with a trophy on the line.

Both took a step in that direction Saturday in the Deutsche Bank Championship.

McIlroy went from one extreme to another on par 5s just 30 minutes apart — a 4-iron into 10 feet for eagle on No. 18, a 5-wood in the water for bogey on No. 2 — but steadied himself for another 6-under 65.

McIlroy's girlfriend, tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, got almost as much attention from fans as he did as she followed him. Asked if he noticed he has more young men in his galleries when Wozniacki is present, McIlroy smiled and said: "I haven't. But thanks for pointing that out."

Woods, playing in the afternoon, had three birdies on the opening six holes until he could no longer get a putt to drop. He made birdie putts of 30 feet and 15 feet late in the round to salvage 68, leaving him two back.

In between was Louis Oosthuizen, a former British Open champion with one of golf's purest swings. He had four 2s on his card of 65 and goes into the third round one shot behind and in the final group with McIlroy, who is at 12-under 130.

"Everything seemed to work pretty well out there," McIlroy said. "I felt like I drove the ball a bit better (Saturday) and hit more fairways, which gave me some more opportunities to make birdies. Yeah, pleased with where I am and looking forward to the weekend."

The weekend is half over, as this FedEx Cup playoff event is known for its Labor Day finish. Nine players are separated by three shots.

Ryan Moore had 68, playing the front nine in 1 over, and joined Woods at 10-under 132.

Woods missed out on a chance to be paired with McIlroy today when he missed the fairway on the par-5 18th, laid up short of the marsh and came up just short of the green and its front hole location. He made par.

PGA EUROPE: Richie Ramsay of Scotland thrived in the cold and wet Swiss Alps, shooting 7-under 64 for a one-stroke lead after three rounds of the European Masters in Crans-Sur-Sierre, Switzerland. Ramsay had six birdies and finished at 11 under, one shot ahead of Paul Lawrie (67) and Danny Willett (68). "It was a nice and steady round," said Ramsay, who was at the first tee when fog suspended play in the morning. "It sounds simple, it's harder to do."

McIlroy, Woods set up for showdown 09/01/12 [Last modified: Saturday, September 1, 2012 9:42pm]
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