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Gasp! Tiger’s Dubai lead cut to one

Tait: Damien who? McGrane to meet Woods

By ANNA JOHNSON
Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Tiger Woods managed it all — the wind blowing, the sand swirling and the photographers clicking.

He shot a 1-under 71 Friday, making birdies on two of the last three holes for a one-stroke lead halfway through the Dubai Desert Classic. Woods was at 8-under 136, and a victory will give him seven wins in eight starts. He also won in Dubai in 2006.

“It was not a pretty day out there,” he said.

Damien McGrane, who is ranked 319th and has never won as a pro, shot a 69 and was a stroke behind. He will be paired with Woods in the third round Saturday at Emirates Golf Club.

“I know he’s Irish but that’s about it,” Woods said.

Gusts reaching 30 mph shook the bunkers and desert terrain. Sand flew in faces and created a haze masking many of the glitzy skyscrapers usually seen towering over the course. Woods wore sunglasses but said he was still “chewing sand all day.”

Defending champion Henrik Stenson of Sweden shot a 70 and was two strokes behind Woods. He shared third with Thomas Levet of France, who had a 71.

McGrane now must contend with the large crowds that follow Woods from hole to hole.

“There’s a lot of distractions here,” Woods told him. “I know there’s a policy with cameras, but that’s not really happening out here.”

Course marshals repeatedly had to ask the galleries watching Woods and his two partners — Colin Montgomerie and Niclas Fasth — to stand still and put their cameras away.

Before he putted at the fourth hole, Woods asked photographers to move out of his playing path. On the sixth hole, Montgomerie’s caddie motioned for a spectator to put away his camera — moments after a marshal asked the same thing.

As for McGrane, about a dozen or so fans followed his play, including his sisters. He was tied with Woods at 7 under until the world’s No. 1 player birdied the 18th hole. Now they get to play together, and mild weather was expected Saturday — partly sunny and decreasing winds.

“That’s our ambition, play alongside him, see how the game is played, see what we should be doing,” he said. “Because, obviously, he sets the mark at the moment.”

Woods’ win at Torrey Pines in San Diego last weekend was his fourth consecutive and 62nd career title, tying Arnold Palmer for fourth place on the PGA Tour list.

Woods, who led by two strokes after the first round, bogeyed the first hole after driving into the rough. Bogeys followed on the 12th and 15th. He also missed some 10- and 12-foot putts. Poor putting plagued Woods at Dubai last year, when he finished third.

“I had a hard time staying steady on them like the rest of the guys,” said Woods, who won last week’s Buick Invitational by eight strokes. “Plus, also, these greens aren’t exactly the easiest greens to read. There’s a bit of grain in there and you have to be committed, hit a good stroke and hopefully, it goes in. But didn’t make a lot of putts today.”

Woods found some benefit from all the flying sand.

“Good thing is, don’t need any fiber tonight,” he cracked.

For McGrane, who had four birdies and two bogeys, the chill and wind felt more like home.

“Finishing on the last few holes, it was very cold, and you don’t expect that in the desert,” he said. “But you know, it was nearly my type of weather today, so I made the most of it.”

Scores with relation to par from the secondround of the Dubai Desert Classic, played Feb. 1 at the par-72,7,211-yard Emirates Golf Club, Majlis Course in Dubai, United ArabEmirates (Note: a-amateur):

1. Tiger Woods 65-71–136

-8 2. Damien McGrane 68-69–137

-7 3. Thomas Levet 67-71–138

-6 3. Henrik Stenson 68-70–138

-6 5. Ross Fisher 69-70–139

-5 5. Sergio Garcia 68-71–139

-5 5. Peter Hedblom 69-70–139

-5 5. Scott Hend 67-72–139

-5 5. Graeme McDowell 67-72–139

-5 5. Gary Murphy 67-72–139

-5 5. Hennie Otto 69-70–139

-5 12. Andrew Coltart 69-71–140

-4 12. Ernie Els 68-72–140

-4 12. Jean-Baptiste Gonnet 72-68–140

-4 12. Søren Hansen 68-72–140

-4 12. Shiv Kapur 68-72–140

-4 12. Robert Karlsson 70-70–140

-4 12. Martin Kaymer 67-73–140

-4 12. Lee Westwood 69-71–140

-4 20. Paul Broadhurst 70-71–141

-3 20. Pelle Edberg 67-74–141

-3 20. Johan Edfors 71-70–141

-3 20. David Frost 72-69–141

-3 20. Miguel Angel Jimenez 67-74–141

-3 20. Andrew McLardy 67-74–141

-3 20. Peter O'Malley 68-73–141

-3 20. Ian Poulter 70-71–141

-3 20. Jyoti Randhawa 67-74–141

-3 20. Graeme Storm 69-72–141

-3 30. Benn Barham 68-74–142

-2 30. Thongchai Jaidee 69-73–142

-2 30. Brendan Jones 71-71–142

-2 30. James Kingston 68-74–142

-2 30. Alexander Noren 71-71–142

-2 30. Louis Oosthuizen 73-69–142

-2 36. Ariel Canete 68-75–143

-1 36. Robert-Jan Derksen 68-75–143

-1 36. Niclas Fasth 72-71–143

-1 36. Stephen Gallacher 70-73–143

-1 36. Ricardo Gonzalez 72-71–143

-1 36. Richard Green 73-70–143

-1 36. Gregory Havret 72-71–143

-1 36. David Howell 68-75–143

-1 36. Soren Kjeldsen 69-74–143

-1 36. Maarten Lafeber 71-72–143

-1 36. Paul McGinley 71-72–143

-1 36. Jeev Milkha Singh 67-76–143

-1 36. Miles Tunnicliff 69-74–143

-1 49. Phillip Archer 72-72–144

E 49. Thomas Bjorn 74-70–144

E 49. Simon Dyson 67-77–144

E 49. Martin Erlandsson 72-72–144

E 49. Gonzalo Fdez-Castano 73-71–144

E 49. Marcus Fraser 69-75–144

E 49. Anders Hansen 70-74–144

E 49. Jose Manuel Lara 70-74–144

E 49. Colin Montgomerie 72-72–144

E 49. Mark O'Meara 70-74–144

E 49. Richard Sterne 69-75–144

E 49. Steve Webster 73-71–144

E 61. Stephen Dodd 73-72–145
+ 1 61. Bradley Dredge 73-72–145
+ 1 61. Garry Houston 68-77–145
+ 1 61. Mikko Ilonen 74-71–145
+ 1 61. Per-Ulrik Johansson 71-74–145
+ 1 61. James Kamte 74-71–145
+ 1 61. Simon Khan 72-73–145
+ 1 61. Jean Van de Velde 73-72–145
+ 1 61. Daniel Vancsik 68-77–145
+ 1 61. Anthony Wall 73-72–145
+ 1 • • •

Missed the cut

71. Nick Dougherty 72-74–146
+ 2 71. Scott Drummond 72-74–146
+ 2 71. Alastair Forsyth 69-77–146
+ 2 71. Ignacio Garrido 69-77–146
+ 2 71. Raphael Jacquelin 74-72–146
+ 2 71. Peter Lawrie 69-77–146
+ 2 71. David Lynn 73-73–146
+ 2 71. Rory McIlroy 69-77–146
+ 2 71. Charl Schwartzel 70-76–146
+ 2 71. Mads Vibe-Hastrup 69-77–146
+ 2 71. Simon Wakefield 76-70–146
+ 2 82. Ross Bain 74-73–147
+ 3 82. John Bickerton 74-73–147
+ 3 82. Gregory Bourdy 74-73–147
+ 3 82. Christian Cevaer 72-75–147
+ 3 82. Mark Foster 72-75–147
+ 3 82. Anton Haig 72-75–147
+ 3 82. Sam Little 75-72–147
+ 3 82. Francesco Molinari 72-75–147
+ 3 82. Phillip Price 74-73–147
+ 3 82. Hideto Tanihara 72-75–147
+ 3 92. Fredrik Andersson Hed 73-75–148
+ 4 92. Markus Brier 73-75–148
+ 4 92. Michael Campbell 76-72–148
+ 4 92. Richard Finch 75-73–148
+ 4 92. Joakim Haeggman 73-75–148
+ 4 92. Peter Hanson 70-78–148
+ 4 92. Paul Lawrie 72-76–148
+ 4 92. Jose-Filipe Lima 71-77–148
+ 4 92. Chapchai Nirat 74-74–148
+ 4 92. Alvaro Quiros Garcia 73-75–148
+ 4 92. Sam Walker 74-74–148
+ 4 103. Darren Clarke 74-75–149
+ 5 103. Jean-Francois Lucquin 74-75–149
+ 5 103. Marc Warren 74-75–149
+ 5 106. Mardan Mamat 76-74–150
+ 6 107. Carlos Rodiles 75-76–151
+ 7 107. a-Matthew Turner 76-75–151
+ 7 107. Oliver Wilson 78-73–151
+ 7 110. David Griffiths 76-76–152
+ 8 110. Barry Lane 72-80–152
+ 8 110. Jean-Francois Remesy 73-79–152
+ 8 113. Carl Suneson 77-76–153
+ 9 114. Pablo Martin 78-76–154
+ 10 114. Zane Scotland 76-78–154
+ 10 114. Tom Whitehouse 75-79–154
+ 10 117. Faycal Serghini 79-80–159
+ 15 118. Andrew Whitelaw 80-81–161
+ 17 119. a-Khalid Yousuf 81-82–163
+ 19

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