Wednesday 26 September 2018

Tiger grinds it out as Irish trio suffer power cut

Tiger Woods. Photo: AP
Tiger Woods. Photo: AP

Tiger Woods sprayed the ball all over southern California but closed with a clutch birdie to make the cut in his first PGA Tour start for a year in the Farmers Insurance Open.

As Padraig Harrington and Shane Lowry crashed out at Torrey Pines, the former world No 1 found just three fairways on the North Course and was three shots outside the one-under cut mark with nine holes to play before digging deep into his bag of trick.

He came to life from the moment he drained a 30-footer for birdie at the first (his 10th), fist-pumping like the Woods of old before picking up further birdies at the fifth and seventh.

A sloppy chip led to a bogey at the par-three eighth but even after slicing his tee shot well right at the 556-yard ninth, he found the green and two-putted from 70 feet for a birdie and a one-under 71.

"It was a grind," Woods confessed. "I fought hard, and I was able to post a score. Typical. Just me going out there fighting for whatever I can get. It felt good."

Ryan Palmer shot 67 on the North Course to lead by a shot on 11-under-par from defending champion Jon Rahm, who posted a bogey-free 66 at the same course as he chases a win that would see him replace Dustin Johnson as world No 1.

"I had the putter really hot on the first nine holes but my short game kept me alive today," Rahm said. "If I don't make those saves it could have been one or two under, or maybe even par."

Seamus Power was three over after six holes but while he birdied the long ninth and parred his way to the 17th on the North Course, he bogeyed the last hole and shot a three-over 75 to miss the cut by a shot on level par.

Harrington hit fewer fairways than Woods - two of 14 - as he shot a 72 on the South Course to finish a shot outside the mark on level par.

A seven at the par-five 18th (his ninth) proved detrimental - he found water with his third shot after laying up. It was an even more disappointing day for Lowry, who was one under for the day and four-under for the tournament with eight holes to play but collapsed in alarming fashion.

The Clara man dropped seven shots in eight holes en route to a 78 to miss the cut by four shots.

His problems began when he three-putted the 18th for a bogey six, then double-bogeyed the first after bunker trouble and followed that mistake with bogeys at the second, third and fourth before missing a four-footer for birdie at the last.

In the fog-delayed Omega Dubai Desert Classic, Rory McIlroy will get to test his fitness over 26 holes today in his second start after a three-month layoff. The Co Down man made four birdies and a bogey in 11 holes to move up to tied fifth on 10-under par when play was suspended until this morning. Play was delayed by two hour and 50 minutes due to fog which meant McIlroy was one of 66 players set to resume their second rounds at 7.30am.

Waiting

"I'm in a good position," said McIlroy, who was just three strokes behind Jamie Donaldson after the Welshman followed his opening 62 with a 69 to lead by one on 13-under par from China's Li Haotong. "It was hard waiting all day to go out there," added McIlroy, who birdied the second, third and fifth before making his first bogey of the week at the eighth, carving his tee shot 60 yards right into the desert.

"I nearly got away with a par but dropped a shot. But it was nice to get a shot back there on 10 at the end of the round.

"It will probably be a good test for me to play 26 holes tomorrow. We'll see how the body responds to it."

Graeme McDowell shot 68 and Paul Dunne a 74 to leave them tied 65th on four-under-par yet sitting precariously on the projected cut mark.Darren Clarke missed out as he shot 77 to finish on eight over and extend his streak of missed cuts on the European Tour to 18 months.

  • Farmers Insurance Open, Live, Sky Sports Golf, 7.0pm
  • Omega Dubai Desert Classic, Live, Sky Sports Golf, 8.30am

Irish Independent

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