Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Woods has top round to close in on McIlroy

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Strong off the tee and hitting shots with exquisite control, Tiger Woods seemed like his old self.

He turned in Friday's best score, bogey-free 6-under 66, to get in contention at the Dubai Desert Classic. He was tied for fifth, four strokes behind leader Rory McIlroy after two rounds, and gave himself every reason to believe he can win for the first time in more than a year.

Woods was part of a powerhouse group that included top-ranked Lee Westwood and No. 2 Martin Kaymer. But on this day, Woods played as if he were unquestionably No. 1 again.

"It felt good (Friday). I hit a lot of good shots," said Woods, who likened his game to the way he played at last year's Chevron World Challenge, where he lost in a playoff to U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell.

Woods, the winner of 14 majors, routinely gave himself chances. He finished with six birdies and was at 7-under 137.

McIlroy followed his opening 65 with 68. This course brings out the best in the 21-year-old golfer from Northern Ireland, who earned his only European Tour victory at this tournament two years ago.

A shot behind at 10 under were Sergio Garcia (67) and Thomas Aiken (67), followed by Steve Webster (68) at 8 under.

"I'm just concentrating on myself," McIlroy said. " … As long as I go out and shoot the numbers that I want to, then that's the most important thing."

PGA: Steve Marino is too busy soaking in the California scenery and celebrity-filled atmosphere at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am to get worked up over his four-shot lead going into the weekend.

Marino had his only bogey of the tournament on the par-5 14th but followed with three birdies over the last four holes for 7-under 66 and 141 total.

"This tournament is kind of strange," Marino said. "You play a different course every day. You're playing with amateur partners. It's a little more low key and laid back."

First-round leader D.A. Points struggled at Spyglass Hill and was slipping down the leaderboard until running off four birdies in a five-hole stretch around the turn. He shot 70 and was four shots out.

Points worried for a moment that playing partner Bill Murray started to feel the pressure.

"Bill was struggling a little (Friday), so he was maybe down on himself," Points said. "We still had a great time."

CHAMPIONS: Jay Don Blake opened with 8-under 64 at the Allianz Championship in Boca Raton to take a one-stroke lead over Tom Lehman in the over-50 circuit's first full-field event.

Woods has top round to close in on McIlroy 02/11/11 [Last modified: Friday, February 11, 2011 10:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays make Hechavarria trade official


    Here is the release from the team ...


  2. Jones: Will Tampa Bay hit a Hall of Fame dry spell now?

    Lightning Strikes

    Marty St. Louis may lack the Hall of Fame stats, but two scoring titles, an MVP award and clutch goals should count for a lot. (Dirk Shadd, Times)
  3. Scotty Bowman says 'it's about time' Andreychuk got HOF call


    For Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman, Dave Andreychuk finally being part of a Hall of Fame class is especially gratifying.

    Scotty Bowman drafted Dave Andreychuk in the first round (16th overall) in 1982 and coached him the first five seasons of his career.
  4. Dave Andreychuk going into Hall of Fame (w/photo gallery)


    Dave Andreychuk said Monday began "business as usual."

    Dave Andreychuk battles Calgary's Andrew Ference during Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final.
  5. UPDATE: Rays finalizing deal to get SS Hechavarria for 2 minor-leaguers


    UPDATE, 4:27: In making the deal, the Rays add an elite-level defender to an infield that could use the help. But it also raises a number of questions, such as will they now move Tim Beckham to 2B? Does this mean Matt Duffy is not coming back this season? Is Daniel Robertson or Taylor Featherston going to …

    Adeiny Hechavarria is a two-time Gold Glove finalist who could help settle the Rays sometimes leaky infield defense.