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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 January 2008, 14:17 GMT
Woods charges to early Dubai lead
Tiger Woods
Woods won his 62nd PGA Tour title on Sunday

(GB & Ire unless stated):

-7 T Woods (USA)
-5 S Dyson, P Edberg (Swe), S Hend (Aus), MA Jimenez (Spa), M Kaymer (Ger), T Levet (Fra), G McDowell, A McLardy (SA), G Murphy, J Randhawa (Ind), JM Singh (Ind)
Selected others:
-4 S Garcia (Spa), H Stenson (Swe), E Els (SA), D Howell
-2 I Poulter

Tiger Woods continued where he left off in the USA with a first-round 65 to take a two-shot lead at seven under on day one of the Dubai Desert Classic.

Woods, the eight-shot winner of the Buick Invitational on Sunday, was ahead of a group of 11 including Miguel Angel Jimenez, who fired a hole-in-one.

Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia, defending champion Henrik Stenson and David Howell were in a group on four under.

Ian Poulter, under a cloud after a controversial magazine article, hit 70.

The Englishman was reported in Golf World as saying that he didn't rate any of his fellow pros and that he would become Woods's biggest rival in the world rankings, but he claimed in Dubai he was misquoted.

Order of Merit leader Lee Westwood ended three under, while eight-time European number one Colin Montgomerie, playing alongside Woods, was level par after a 72.

That's what comes from two good days of practice

Tiger Woods

South African Andrew McLardy could have overtaken Woods before bogeying his penultimate hole.

McLardy got to six under through 15 holes thanks to a magnificent eagle-three at the 18th (his ninth) before dropping back into the chasing pack.

World number one Woods, who claimed his fourth straight tournament win in his first outing of 2008 on Sunday, said that he played better in Dubai than at any stage last week at Torrey Pines.


It could have been even better had his greenside chip for an eagle on the par-five 10th (his first) not stopped an inch from the cup.

"I played pretty well and hit a bunch of good shots out there, much better than last week when I just made a lot of putts. I couldn't have asked for a better start," he said.

"That's what comes from two good days of practice."

Garcia admitted he was still a bit rusty after the winter break but said that his game was starting to take shape.

"I left two or three shots out there but it's the beginning of the year," he said. "But it's getting better and if Tiger doesn't run away with it, I could be in with a chance come Sunday."



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