Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy trail leader Thorbjorn Olesen by two strokes entering the third round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
Olesen, of Denmark, shot a 5-under 67 yesterday and is 7 under for the tournament at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. Italy’s Matteo Manassero, who had yesterday’s low score of 65, and England’s Gareth Maybin, with a 70, are one shot back at 6 under at the midway point.
McIlroy, who shared the first-round lead with Sweden’s Robert Karlsson, had a 72 to stay at 5 under. The U.S. Open champion from Northern Ireland took a two-stroke penalty on the ninth hole for brushing away sand that wasn’t on the putting surface.
“Just wasn’t thinking,” McIlroy, No. 3 in the Official World Golf Ranking, told reporters. “Turned a routine 4 into a 6 there.”
Woods, McIlroy’s playing partner, had five birdies and two bogeys in a round of 69. He had a chance to tie Olesen after birdies on the 11th, 12th and 15th holes, but bogeyed No. 16 after driving into the rough.
“I’m only two back,” said Woods, who’s making his season debut. “We have 36 holes to go and there’s a lot of guys that have got a chance to win this golf tournament, so certainly I need to do my job and progress up that leaderboard and see what happens.”
Top-ranked Luke Donald of England, playing in the group with McIlroy and Woods, shot a 72 and is tied for 32nd place at 1 under. Second-ranked Lee Westwood of England stayed at even par with a second 72 and is tied for 40th.
Karlsson is among four others tied with Woods and McIlroy after a 72. Spain’s Sergio Garcia, Ireland’s Padraig Harrington and Masters champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa are part of a group at 1 under.
Fourth-ranked Martin Kaymer of Germany, the two-time defending champion, shot a 73 and finished at 6 over to miss the cut for weekend play by four strokes.