Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Sports

Woods gets grasp on round

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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Maybe those swing changes are paying off for Tiger Woods.

Woods moved into contention with 3-under 69 Friday after three birdies over five holes on the back nine in the second round of the Abu Dhabi Championship, finishing two shots behind leader Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark (67).

"I've grown to understand what (coach) Sean (Foley) wants me to do and how my body is going to do those things and produce the numbers he wants me to produce," Woods said.

Olesen had seven birdies in his first 12 holes for a two-round total of 7-under 137 and a one-shot lead over Gareth Maybin of Northern Ireland (70) and 18-year-old Matteo Mannasero (65) of Italy.

"For me it's very special. It's not many years ago I was watching them on TV," Olesen said of the world's best. "I know it's tough, but I'm trying to keep playing my own game and do my best."

Rory McIlroy (72) took a two-stroke penalty for brushing away sand in front of his ball on the fringe at the ninth hole.

The 22-year-old U.S. Open champion, playing with Woods and top-ranked Luke Donald (72), opened with bogey and double bogey on the third.

He rallied with three birdies before a double bogey on the ninth. That was when Donald spotted the sand infraction and called him on it. Players are allowed to brush away sand on the green but not on the fringe.

"Wasn't thinking clearly and a penalty there," McIlroy said.

Woods was tied for fourth in a group of seven that included McIlroy and Robert Karlsson (72).

Sergio Garcia (69), Padraig Harrington (69) and Charl Schwartzel (70) are another shot back at 140. Fourth-ranked Martin Kaymer (73) missed the cut in an event he has won three times.

Woods said he's adapting to the new system under Foley.

"If you would have asked me (six to eight months ago) if I would understand the system as well as I do and the numbers I'm producing, I probably would have said no," he said. "Now I do and when we talk, it's very simple."

PGA: The tougher South Course at Torrey Pines suited Kyle Stanley just fine at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego.

Stanley overcame an early double bogey with four birdies on the front nine for 4-under 68, giving him 14-under 130 total and a one-shot lead over Brandt Snedeker after two rounds.

Snedeker, who as a rookie at Torrey Pines shot 61 on the North Course, had 64 there to make a swift climb up the leaderboard.

Hometown star Phil Mickelson missed the cut by three strokes after shooting 68 on the North course, not enough to make up for Thursday's 5-over 77.

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