Dubai Desert Classic Leaderboard
February 12, 2011 by staff
Dubai Desert Classic Leaderboard, (CP) – Tiger Woods survived a poor start and winds of 72 to post, the normal, leaving him only one shot behind leader Rory McIlroy and two entering the final round of the Dubai Desert Classic. The day when winds reached 45 km / h and dusty conditions played havoc with the rankings, Woods has shown an uncanny ability to come back repeatedly.
The former No. 1-ranked Americans ended the third round with a grand total of 7-under 209, second behind round leader McIlroy (75), Denmark’s Anders Hansen (71) and Africa South Thomas Aiken (74) who are all at 8-under 208. He sits in a tie in five directions for the fourth. Woods should not even be in contention going into Sunday. But the difficult conditions took their toll on most of the top players, finishing with 3-plus McIlroy and Sergio Garcia – who was eight strokes ahead of Woods after nine holes – finishing at 3-over and tied with Woods and five other players. About two-thirds of the field did not break through.
“The fact that I was able to battle of 4-above normal and put me with a chance of going into tomorrow, I’m proud of that,” said Woods, who had an eagle and four birdies but also four bogeys and a double bogey. “I hope I can build on that.”
Woods started poorly with bogeys on the first two holes, mainly due to errant drives that went far to the left of the fairway. He fired a shot back with a birdie on the third. But he bogeyed the eighth and ended up with a double bogey on the ninth after his approach shot was taken in the wind, fell just short of the green and rolled into the water.
But at the start, Woods showed some of his trademark magic. He responded with an eagle on the 10th, chipping in from 35 feet. He followed with a birdie that seemed to settle. But after running several pars, put his troubles returned with a bogey on No. 16 – “. Come on Tiger Woods incentive to pay before finishing with
The former top-ranked player on all stops pulled out of 17, driving the rear edge green 359-yard hole. But then his chip past the hole and had he missed easy birdie. That left him on 18 when he played with caution, choosing to put in place rather than driving the green. It paid off when he managed to loop over a putt from 30 feet, prompting him to pump his fist as the crowd cheered wildly.
Woods, who won in Dubai in 2006 and 2008, seeks his first victory in over a year.
McIlroy, who won his only European Tour event here in 2009, also had a terrible start. He had three bogeys directly hand the head of Garcia, including a drive on the second that landed in the sand and scrub each other on the third, which ended in the bunker.
Like Woods, McIlroy has managed to turn his game around on the back nine with a birdie and a string of pars.
“There were some tricks that I leave out of me … and I did not let that happen today, which is a positive sign,” said McIlroy. “And I’m still, you know in the lead, tied for the lead … I’m always there with a great opportunity. It’s just very clustered at the minute and now a lot of guys have a chance to win.”
Of all the contenders, Garcia had the most dramatic change of fortunes. After opening with a bogey, 31-year-old Spaniard made a race with two birdies on his next four holes to take exclusive possession of the head.
But Garcia collapsed on the back nine, carding two bogeys and a double bogey on the 17th after his drive hit a tree and had to drop a ball. This gave him back to McIlroy and several others for the good entering Sunday’s final.
Garcia said his inability to keep his head was “regrettable” but insisted he played as well as it could under these conditions.
“I have not played the back nine that bad. I hit some bad shots, but I had him well,” said Garcia.
Top-ranked Lee Westwood is tied for 13th at 5-under while No. 2-ranked Martin Kaymer is eight shots adrift of the leader after carding a 4-over 76.
There is still a small chance that the results of the tournament could see a changing of the guard at the top.
Westwood could lose top spot if Kaymer wins and he finishes lower than second, and if Kaymer finished second and Westwood is outside the top 10.
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