DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Maybe shaving the goatee had something to do with it.
Five years ago, Tiger Woods blew his chance to win the Dubai Desert Classic on the 18th hole, sending a ball into the drink. On Saturday, he rallied on the same hole's sprawling green to grab a share of the lead.
"It a pretty funky hole," said Woods, who played it this time with a ricochet shot, netting him a birdie for 5-under-par 67 and a spot atop the leaderboard with Danish journeyman Anders Hansen.
Woods is back to his clean-shaven look, saying he got tired of the goatee.
"I forgot to bring my clippers, and it was getting really itchy," he said.
After hooking his drive into a grove of palm trees, Woods overclubbed with a 4-iron and landed his approach over the protecting pond and, on the fly, into the grandstands behind the green.
A fan made the catch and flipped the ball down to Woods, who smiled back.
"I had a backboard to hit it up against, which was nice," said Woods, who took a drop, chipped to 5 feet and made his birdie putt on the 537-yard hole, which ends on a sweeping double green that also serves the ninth hole.
None of this was accidental, of course.
"Stevie and I checked it out yesterday, just to see where you're going to miss," Woods said, referring to caddie Steve Williams.
"He's probably going to say he didn't have his 'A' game, but he still got around in 67 and just showed class," said Hansen, who shot 69 to match Woods at 16-under 200 overall.
Retief Goosen, who was the co-leader after two rounds with Hansen, carded 70 to fall one stroke off the pace at 15 under. Three more players are two shots behind the leaders - defending champion Ernie Els, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Australian left-hander Richard Green.
FBR OPEN: In Scottsdale, Ariz., tour rookie J.B. Holmes shot 6-under-par 65 to take a one-shot lead through three rounds of the FBR Open, while a raucous record crowd of 168,337 fans partied around him.
The 23-year-old Kentuckian with a booming drive was at 16-under 197 through 54 holes. Second-round leader J.J. Henry and Ryan Palmer were one back at 15 under.
Justin Leonard shot 64, and David Toms had 65 to reach 13 under, while Colombian Camilo Villegas, a hit with the crowd in neon green-yellow pants, was another stroke back along with Dean Wilson.
If he holds on, Holmes would be the event's youngest winner since Jerry Pate in 1977.
The stocky, muscular rookie, who finished first in the 2005 PGA Tour qualifying tournament, had seven tee shots that traveled at least 338 yards on fairways hardened by a record 108 days without rain.
Rory Sabbatini, starting on the back nine, shot 64 and was five shots back at 11-under 202. Defending champion Phil Mickelson shot 70 and was eight back at 8-under 205.
The attendance broke last year's record of 165,168 in an event that, by far, draws the largest crowds on the PGA Tour. However, as Henry pointed out, "maybe only 50 of them really knew a golf tournament was going on."
ANZ LADIES MASTERS: In Gold Coast, Australia, Amy Yang, a local 16-year-old high school student, held on to a one-stroke lead after 2-under-par 70 at Royal Pines.
Yang was at 11-under 205, one shot better than Ludivine Kreutz of France.
Kreutz made up eight shots over the final six holes with 67, including a hole-in-one.
Another amateur, 19-year-old Tiffany Joh (69), was tied for third with fellow American Catherine Cartwright (70), two shots back at 9 under.
Defending champion Karrie Webb had 74, which left her at 3 under.
© 2016. All Rights Reserved. | Contact Us