Tracker: McIlroy takes down Tiger in match-play exhibition

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy talk at the award ceremony during the Duel at Jinsha Lake Golf Club on Oct. 29, 2012.

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A day after Tiger Woods fired a bogey-free round to climb into contention at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, it was Rory McIlroy that benefited from a bogey-free round in beating Woods in a medal match-play exhibition at Lake Jinsha International Golf Club in Beijing.

It a match of the World's No. 1 and 2 players, McIlroy fired a 5-under 67, while Woods countered with a 4-under 68. Woods had more birdies on the day with six, but bogeys at Nos. 3 and 13 proved costly.

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A course marshall practices some moves prior to the tee off time of World No. 1 Rory McIlroy and World No. 2 Tiger Woods for the 'Duel at Jinsha Lake', a one-day golf exhibition.

"It was pretty close. Tiger made a few birdies on the back nine," said McIlroy, who had only played Nos. 10 and 11 at the Lake Jinsha track prior to arriving via private jet late Sunday night. "I tried to keep my nose in front.

"I hope all the fans enjoyed it. I think they did."

Woods provided the two most memorable shots of the morning, nearly holing out for eagle at the par-4 7th hole after hitting his ball to about 8 feet beyond the hole and the ball spinning back to about 18 inches.

Woods also chipped in for birdie at the par-3 12th after a poor tee ball left him about 15 feet off the green.

"I am amazed at the growth and development of golf here in China," said Woods. "More courses that have been built. And more junior golf being played as well. It is nice to see.

''If you look at the history of the game, it's not like other sports where the guys play against each other all the time. Jack (Nicklaus) and Arnold (Palmer) didn't go at it that often. But you know what, if we can do this for the next 10, 15 years, then certainly we can have that type of rivalry.

''I think having matches like this to promote the game of golf is what it's all about. We're trying to promote the game of golf in this region and it's come a long way since my first time here 11 years ago.''

Woods and McIlroy actually were outfitted with microphones for the exhibition, so fans were able to listen to conversations between the two superstars. A couple of highlights included Woods telling McIlroy that he would be cutting back on tournaments in 2013, while also alluding to struggles with distance with his short irons. He even mentioned struggling with instructor Sean Foley, although it was uncertain whether he meant they were still working on the short-iron problem and that is where the frustration was, or if there is a rift between player and coach currently.

See how the match unfolded in the wee hours of Monday morning in the United States:

• • •

Hole #18, Par 4, 427 yards

Where was McIlroy when Tiger won the 1997 Masters? He tells a reporter that he was at home, watching with his parents. At the age of 7.

Off the tee: Tiger blasts a driver that finds the right side of the fairway, while McIlroy hits the rough.

Approach shots: McIlroy hits a nice shot from a bad lie and will have 25 feet for birdie. Tiger goes long with his second, finding a greenside bunker at the back of the green.

Around the green: Tiger knows he likely needs to hole this shot and nearly does it, as the ball runs right over the hole.

On the green: Tiger knocks his in, but McIlroy two-putts for a one-shot victory.

ON THE DAY: Tiger, 4-under 68; McIlroy, 5-under 67

• • •

Hole #17, Par 3, 154 yards

A hole-in-one would net a car here. A reporter asks McIlroy what he thinks and Rory quips, "It'd be hard to get it home." Tiger follows, "You could take the Siberian route."

Off the tee: Tiger hits a nice tee ball to about 15 feet beyond the hole, while McIlroy acts like he doesn't like his tee shot, but still hits the green and has about 20 feet from under the hole.

On the green: McIlroy gets a piece of the left edge with his birdie attempt, but has to settle for par. But, again, Tiger can't convert on his either, sending it by on the right and also pars. McIlroy has a one-shot advantage heading to the last.

ON THE DAY: Tiger, 4 under; McIlroy, 5 under

• • •

Hole #16, Par 4, 402 yards

With three holes to play, it'll be interesting to see if each starts to watch their shots a bit more closely. Yeah, it's an exhibition, but no one likes to lose.

Off the tee: By cutting over the water, the players can actually go at the green. McIlroy goes first and puts it in the bunker in front of the green, while Tiger comes up about 20 yards short of the green, but in the short grass. Tiger actually thanks McIlroy after hitting, as it helped him make the decision to go for it.

Approach shots: Tiger hits a nice shot to about 10 feet behind the hole, while McIlroy gets out of the sand, but doesn't get over a ridge in the green and will have a tough putt to come.

On the green: McIlroy misses his slick putt and taps in for par, but Tiger can't take advantage, sliding his birdie attempt by on the right and also picks up par.

ON THE DAY: Tiger, 4 under; McIlroy, 5 under

• • •

Hole #15, Par 5, 537 yards

Both players are really spending little time laboring over shots, making the first read and trusting it for the most part.

Off the tee: The first "Get in the hole!" after Tiger hits his drive, which finds the left rough. McIlroy goes in the same direction, but holds up in the fairway. Advantage wunderkind.

Second shots: Tiger is interviewed before his second shot and says that the cooler weather is a welcome relief from the 105 to 110-degree weather he experienced in Malaysia last week. He also hits a gutsy second shot, hitting a huge cut shot through the rough and around a small tree to hit the green, putting from about 40 feet for eagle. McIlroy also hits the green and will have about 15 for an eagle.

On the green: Tiger's eagle attempt comes up about 4 feet short of the cup. McIlroy also misses his, just to the right of the cup. He taps in for a birdie, while Tiger does the same to keep the match within a stroke.

ON THE DAY: Tiger, 4 under; McIlroy, 5 under

• • •

Hole #14, Par 4, 389 yards

The pace remains brisk, as the players have completed 13 holes in about 140 minutes. At this pace, they might be done with this exhibition in three hours. Well, on-course interviews might slow down that pace, as each take time to talk to a reporter. Both lament that they are having a hard time judging the pace of the greens.

Off the tee: Both players take driver and both send it left, with Tiger staying just short of the rough and McIlroy just rolling into it.

Approach shots: Tiger uses wedge from just in the rough and puts it about 10 feet under the hole. McIlroy hits his ball heavy and it makes the green, but will have about 35 feet for birdie.

On the green: McIlroy misses his long-range birdie attempt, while Tiger buries his to cut McIlroy's lead back to one shot.

ON THE DAY: Tiger, 3 under; McIlroy, 4 under

• • •

Hole #13, Par 4, 404 yards

This hole's commentary turns to Japan's Ryo Ishikawa, with McIlroy lamenting that he shot a 62 on the same day Ishikawa shot a 58.

Off the tee: It's a bit of deja vu, as they both take driver, with Tiger hitting a nice cut onto the left side of the fairway while McIlroy smacks his up the right side.

Approach shots: Neither will be calling home about these second shots, with McIlroy holding the green and leaving himself 25 feet and Tiger hitting the green but spinning back off and will have a chip from about 35 feet.

Around the green: Tiger tries to play a putt with an iron, but it doesn't run far enough and he has about 15 feet to save par.

On the green: McIlroy is aggressive with his putt, sending it about 5 feet past. Tiger misses his par putt to drop back to 2 under with his second bogey of the day. McIlroy does save par to move his lead to two.

ON THE DAY: Tiger, 2 under; McIlroy, 4 under

• • •

Hole #12, Par 3, 198 yards

The topic of conversation between McIlroy and Tiger shifts to soccer, a favorite of McIlroy's. They've also talked a bit of football and rugby today. This is so much better than a press conference.

Off the tee: McIlroy hits a very high shot and it comes to rest just on the green, about 12 feet under the hole. Tiger doesn't like his tee ball at all, coming up short of the green and he'll have a tough, shortsided chip ahead.

Around the green: Tiger says "Oh, boy!" after contact with his chip, but it finds the bottom of the cup for a birdie. Little wave to the crowd there.

On the green: McIlroy can't match Tiger's magic and his lead is cut to one shot.

ON THE DAY: Tiger, 3 under; McIlroy, 4 under

• • •

Hole #11, Par 4, 448 yards

In between the second and third shots at No. 10, Tiger made comments that he has been struggling with coach Sean Foley with his distance control with his shorter irons. It was hard to read whether he meant he was having trouble with Foley, or just with the distances.

Off the tee: Nearly identical tee balls again, with Tiger going about 5 yards further in the middle of the fairway.

• Approach shots: Both take wedge into the green, with McIlroy going about 30 feet right of the hole and Tiger about 20 feet above the hole. Tiger will have a downhill putt for birdie.

On the green: Both players give the hole a scare on their birdie attempts, but both miss and knock in 4-footers for par.

ON THE DAY: Tiger, 2 under; McIlroy, 4 under

• • •

Hole #10, Par 5, 554 yards

McIlroy makes the turn in 3-under 33, while Tiger is at 1-under 35. Good scores considering neither has played at Lake Jinsha.

Off the tee: Both use driver and both bomb it up the left side of the fairway, with Tiger going about 8 yards further.

Second shots: Tiger and McIlroy both use fairway metals and come up about 3 yards short of the green. Both will chip for eagle.

Around the green: Tiger and McIlroy both chip it close and both have basic tap-ins for birdie, and they both convert.

ON THE DAY: Tiger, 2 under; McIlroy, 4 under

• • •

Hole #9, Par 4, 393 yards

Don't look now, but this round is on record pace, with the first eight holes lasting about 90 minutes. We probably just jinxed it, but it was worth noting.

Off the tee: Finally, they use different clubs off the tee. McIlroy sticks with driver and just runs into the left rough, while Tiger takes 5-wood and finds the fairway on the left.

Approach shots: Tiger gets the upperhand here, putting his second shot to about 6 feet under the hole, while McIlroy is about 15 feet to the right.

On the green: McIlroy slides by on the right and makes par, while Tiger can't convert on his short one and makes the turn at 35, two shots back.

ON THE DAY: Tiger, 1 under; McIlroy, 3 under

• • •

Hole #8, Par 5, 572 yards

This event is unique, as fans are closer than they ever would be at a PGA Tour stop, there is more noise, the players are mic'd up and the golf is fairly blind because neither player has played on the course.

Off the tee: Tiger asks for his tee ball to go left, but seems unsure if it indeed did (it found a bunker on the left). McIlroy uses a pretty swing to put his ball in the middle of the fairway.

Second shots: Tiger has to lay up with no shot at clearing the water in front of the green, so he pitches out to give himself wedge into the green. McIlroy does go after it from about 250 yards and misses the green.

Third shots: Tiger hits a nice approach to about 12 feet under the hole, just avoiding spinning back down the tiered green. McIlroy hits a beautiful chip from just left of the green to about 4 feet beyond the hole.

On the green: Again, great pace from Tiger, but it settles about 3 inches to the left of the cup and he taps in for par. McIlroy buries his birdie attempt to take a two-shot lead.

ON THE DAY: Tiger, 1 under; McIlroy, 3 under

• • •

Hole #7, Par 4, 435 yards

Tiger and McIlroy are chatting up a storm, walking side-by-side as they head from shot to shot. Oh, and they are mic'd up, and Tiger and McIlroy have been talking about how demanding this year has been on both of their schedules. Tiger says he will be dialing back how much he is going to play in 2013, which is not shocking because he has played the most in years in 2012.

Off the tee: Another hole, two more drivers. And Tiger gets the best of McIlroy again, with Tiger's ball more in the middle of the fairway and McIlroy flirting with a bunker on the right side.

Approach shots: McIlroy hits first and barely holds the green, leaving himself about 15 feet under the hole. Tiger follows with the shot of the day, hitting it to about 8 feet behind the hole and spinning it back to about 18 inches under the cup. Big applause there.

On the green: Easy birdie for Tiger, while McIlroy scares the hole, but the birdie attempt stops one revolution short and he settles for par.

ON THE DAY: Tiger, 1 under; McIlroy, 2 under

• • •

Hole #6, Par 3, 196 yards

The throngs of fans is quite impressive. But isn't a workday in Beijing? Guess a lot of people played hookie today.

Off the tee: Tiger hits a nice tee ball to about 15 feet left of the hole, but McIlroy does a bit better, getting it to about 5 feet under the hole.

On the green: Tiger has figured out the pace of these greens, but his birdie attempt misses just right and he picks up a par. But McIlroy can't take advantage, missing his short birdie attempt to the left of the hole and posts par.

ON THE DAY: Tiger, Even; McIlroy, 2 under

• • •

Hole #5, Par 4, 413 yards

Tournament organizers have to be happy after that Tiger birdie, as you don't want a blowout in a pay-per-view exhibition, now do you?

Off the tee: Both players seem obsessed with driver today, as they both take out the longest stick in their bag again, with both finding the fairway.

Approach shots: Tiger is longer than McIlroy by one yard, but McIlroy gets the better of him again with their second shots. McIlroy sticks his to about 12 feet left of the hole, while Tiger is about 35 feet under the hole after he put a lot of backspin on the ball. Obviously having trouble with his distances thus far.

On the green: Perfect pace from Tiger on his birdie attempt, but settles about a foot to the right of the hole, which he taps in for par. McIlroy misses his birdie to the left of the hole and also picks up par.

ON THE DAY: Tiger, Even; McIlroy, 2 under

• • •

Hole #4, Par 3, 187 yards

Yes, it's early, but McIlroy looks like he has a bit more energy than Tiger right now. Oh, and it helps to hit two approach shots to within 5 feet for birdies.

Off the tee: McIlroy has the honors still and puts his tee ball about 8 feet under the hole, while Tiger takes it about 12 feet past the hole. Tiger's putter has been sluggish thru three holes, so he'll need to get that going.

On the green: Tiger gets this one to drop for his first one-putt and birdie of the day. McIlroy's birdie attempt runs over the left side of the cup and he settles for a par.

ON THE DAY: Tiger, Even; McIlroy, 2 under

• • •

Hole #3, Par 4, 441 yards

Neither player seems comfortable with the greens, with neither having spent any significant time at Lake Jinsha.

Off the tee: McIlroy uses driver again and splits the fairway. That is 3-for-3 for him. Meanwhile, Tiger also takes the big stick, and experiences his first "I'm-going-to-let-the-club-go" moment of the day. He doesn't even know where it landed. Stand by.

Approach shots: Tiger looks ticked after his ball finds the woods and is blocked by a tree. He manages to hit a low-liner out to get back into the short stuff. Meanwhile, McIlroy hits a fantastic second shot to about 5 feet left of the hole.

Third shot: Make that the shorter rough, as Tiger bounded through the fairway on that second shot. Here, he uses wedge and puts it about 10 feet under the hole.

On the green: Tiger misses his par putt to the right and taps in for a bogey, while McIlroy drains his short birdie attempt to take a three-shot advantage.

ON THE DAY: Tiger, 1 over; McIlroy, 2 under

• • •

Hole #2, Par 5, 558 yards

With this being an exhibition, there is a lot more movement and noise as players are hitting their respective shots. Both players don't seem fazed by it in the least.

Off the tee: Both players take out driver again - obvious, we know - and both take their tee balls up the right side of the fairway. Tiger gets more distance again, landing about 6 yards ahead of McIlroy.

Second shots: McIlroy uses a fairway metal from 230 yards and skirts off the green and into the rough on the right. Moments later, Tiger uses iron to hit the left side of the green and will be putting for eagle.

Third shot: McIlroy hits a nice chip to about 4 feet above the hole.

On the green: Putting from about 40 feet for eagle, Tiger leaves his putt about 5 feet short. These greens seem to be a bit slower than the ones he was on this weekend in Malaysia. Both players miss their birdie attempts and tap in for disappointing pars. The gallery groans at every miss like each just lost the Masters.

ON THE DAY: Tiger, Even; McIlroy, 1 under

• • •

Hole #1, Par 4, 371 yards

Lots of hubbub around the green, with lots of photo opps for both McIlroy and Tiger to get in before their "duel." Weather is a bit iffy for this 18-hole showdown, and both players are sporting a second layer. Tiger has a grey sweatshirt on, while McIlroy has a half pull-up zipper jacket. The players exchange a lot of laughs and you can expect that all day long.

Off the tee: McIlroy hits first and nails a driver up the left side of the fairway, while Tiger does the same, but blows past McIlroy's ball.

Approach shots: McIlroy is about 15 yards back of Tiger, but puts his second shot about 3 feet away for an early look at birdie, while Tiger leaves his about 15 feet under the hole. Security has its hands locked as they protect the players from the throngs of fans following these two superstars.

On the green: Tiger blows his birdie putt past the hole and settles for a two-putt par, while McIlroy drains his 3-footer for a birdie.

ON THE DAY: Tiger, Even; McIlroy, 1 under

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