McIlroy on the charge as Tiger scrambles to make cut at Genesis Open

By Sports Desk February 16, 2019

Rory McIlroy surged up the Genesis Open leaderboard by completing a sublime second-round 63 on Saturday, while Tiger Woods looked to have done just enough to make the cut.

Inclement weather earlier in the week at Riviera Country Club has wreaked havoc with the schedule, pushing the completion of the second round back into day three.

McIlroy, one over after his opening 18 holes, made up for lost time with a bogey-free eight-under round.

The Northern Irishman was tied fourth, four back of co-leaders Justin Thomas and Adam Scott, who were among those to have already completed round two. Thomas and Scott both followed up scores of 66 with 65s to share first place. J.B. Holmes was nine under for the tournament having played 14 holes, while a number of players were still in the early stages of their second rounds.

Woods – who along with McIlroy and Thomas was halted after 12 holes on Friday –  scrambled for a level-par 71, leaving him one under for the tournament and one stroke above the projected cut line.

The 14-time major winner made a priceless birdie at the ninth hole - his 18th - and he was confident that would keep him around for the remainder of the weekend.

"I know one under is getting in," said Woods.

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    Thomas Pieters held his nerve on the back nine to take the halfway lead at the Maybank Championship by one shot.

    Pieters started Friday two shots behind overnight leaders Marcus Fraser and Nacho Elvira, and fell further behind with a bogey at the second.

    While he got that shot back two holes later, Elvira was opening up a four-stroke advantage at the top of the leaderboard.

    However, the increased winds in Kuala Lumpur saw the Spaniard struggle on the back nine, and he finished the day with a level-par 72 to occupy second place with Danny Masrin.

    Pieters had no such problems, though, as he picked up three shots on the way home to edge clear of the field through 36 holes.

    "I struggled off the tee early on – at the end it was a lot better," said Pieters.

    "It didn't feel like a good day to me. I made the best of what I had. I gave myself a lot of chances but I couldn't seem to get the ball in the hole."

    Fraser endured a miserable day as he signed for a five-over 77, the Australian carding three double bogeys as he slipped to two under and a share of 30th.

    Ernie Els also suffered in the tough conditions, but the veteran was able to finish the day two shots behind Pieters.

    The two-time Open champion heads a group of seven players on six-under.

  • Dahmen, Straka share Valspar lead Dahmen, Straka share Valspar lead

    Joel Dahmen and Sepp Straka are tied for the lead after the opening round of the Valspar Championship.

    American Dahmen and Austrian Straka – who are both seeking their maiden PGA Tour victories – ended the day a stroke clear on Thursday.

    Dahmen and Straka carded five-under-par 66s to set the early pace at the Innisbrook Golf and Spa resort in Florida.

    A two-time winner on the PGA Tour Canada, Dahmen had a near spotless round with six birdies and just one bogey, while Straka was blemish-free with five birdies.

    A trio of Russell Knox, Kevin Kisner and Luke Donald trail the leaders in third place at four under and five more golfers round out the top-10 in a tie for sixth at three under, including Keegan Bradley.

    The Tiger Woods-less tournament still has plenty of well-known names in the field with golfers like Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson and Sergio Garcia trying to make it to the weekend.

    Both American star Johnson and Watson are among those in a sizable tie for 11th place at two under, three shots off the pace. Garcia, however, fell down the leaderboard after shooting even par.

    Johnson was a staple in the day's highlight reel. Along with the two bogeys he carded, the world number one had three birdies and made some impressive shots.

    But the most memorable shot came from Knox on the par-five 11th hole. He had just finished the front nine with a double bogey, but that did not seem to affect him after the turn.

    Scotsman Knox finished 11 with an albatross from 275 yards out. 

    Meanwhile, Englishman Paul Casey opened his title defence with a one-under-par 70.

  • Double bogeys spoil Que's stunning start Double bogeys spoil Que's stunning start

    Angelo Que was denied outright lead of the Maybank Championship on Thursday after back-to-back double bogeys saw him slip down the leaderboard.

    Que made a stunning start to day one in Kuala Lumpur as he birdied nine of his first 11 holes, but he came into trouble at 15 and 16 and dropped four shots.

    His six at the par-four 15th was followed by a five at the next hole – a par three – and although he got one shot back at the last, he remained one behind joint leaders Marcus Fraser and Nacho Elvira.

    "I thought I was dreaming when I got to nine under after 11 holes," said Que. "But these things happen especially when you play well. You try not to think too much and get ahead of yourself by ignoring it and keep playing. But it sorts of plays on your mind too.

    "I got unlucky on 15 where I hit the fairway but didn't have a shot at the green. I got an unlucky lie and didn't make up and down. It was the same story on the next hole.

    "These things happen but [it was] lucky I still managed to make 10 birdies today. So, six-under is always a good score. I started off with a birdie and ended off with a birdie. So that's nice.”

    Fraser and Elvira, who both started on the back nine, bounced back from bogeys at the 14th to claim a share of top spot, the pair both signing for 65 to leave them seven under.

    Both players benefitted from favourable scoring conditions early on Thursday, with Elvira picking three shots in a row from the 11th.

    Fraser was two under at the same stage before making gains later in his round to reel in Elvira, a 20-foot putt at the seventh a particular highlight.

    Matthias Schwab and Jazz Janewattananond sit alongside Que at six under after rounds of 66, while Belgium's Thomas Pieters is well placed on five under and veteran Ernie Els is a shot further back in an eight-man group.

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