Sun, Feb 03, 2008 - Page 24 News List

Els sweeps past lackluster Woods to lead Dubai Open


Tiger Woods hopes of a fifth consecutive tournament victory nosedived yesterday when Ernie Els swept by him to take the lead after three rounds of the Dubai Desert Classic.

Woods ended his run of 21 straight sub-par rounds dating back five months with a lackluster one-over 73.

Els, looking for a record fourth win in Dubai, equaled the best round of the tournament to date with a seven-under 65, sparked by an eagle-three at the 10th.

The big South African, who lost to Woods in a playoff here two years ago, had started the day trailing the American by four strokes. By the end of it he led him by four and was in pole position for today's climax.

It was far from being a two-horse race however, as defending champion Henrik Stenson, who edged Els and Woods last year, stayed firmly in the hunt with a 68 which left him just one stroke off the lead and playing with Els in the final pairing today.

In-form Englishman Lee Westwood (68) was tied for third with Ulsterman Graeme McDowell (69), while Woods' finishing bogey dropped him into a share of fourth place with six others, including Sergio Garcia (70).

Colin Montgomerie hopes of getting back inside the top 50 in time to qualify for The Masters were dealt a blow when he could only manage a 73, leaving him well down the field.



Australian Lindsey Wright leads the women's Australian Open golf going into today's final round but world No. 3 Karrie Webb is poised one shot off the lead to claim her fourth Open title.

Wright, one of the few Australians playing on the US LPGA Tour, fired her third consecutive round of 72 yesterday to be three-under 216.

Webb and South Korea's Shin Ji-yai are joint second on the leaderboard at two-under 217.

Wright, ranked 62nd in the world, last year beat then world No. 1 Annika Sorenstam in a round at the World Matchplay Championship. And, despite the presence of Webb, is confident her experience will be worth something in the home stretch.

"I feel relaxed, like it's no big deal," Wright said.

Defending champion Webb overcame a near disaster to card an even-par 73.

Webb's brush with disaster came at the fourth hole when she pulled her second shot and landed in a greenside bunker.

She bladed the bunker shot across the green and into unplayable rough, took a penalty, chipped on and two-putted for a seven.

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