Tiger Woods storms up Dubai leaderboard

It was just like the good old days today as Tiger Woods at last resembled the player who has won 14 majors.

A second round 66 at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic brought the former world number one right into contention for a first win since his sex scandal.



Partnering Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer, the two men who have overtaken him in the world rankings, Woods even charged into a share of the lead at one point - and this after he had been down in 85th spot 12 holes into his opening round.



Given a huge boost in confidence by a closing eagle yesterday, the American resumed six adrift of overnight leader Rory McIlroy, but took only 15 holes to wipe out that deficit as McIlroy waited to tee off again.



Woods' run started on the 467-yard 12th, the hole he double-bogeyed on his previous visit, and further birdies came on the 13th and 18th - both par fives - to take him to the turn in 34.



After saving par from a bunker at the first he pitched to seven feet from the rough on the next, rolled in a 25-footer at the short fourth and then produced his shot of the day.



The par-four sixth hole measures 485 yards, but the 2006 and 2008 champion cut the corner with a 314-yard drive and then hit a brilliant approach to two feet.



That was the moment he was briefly joint leader, but by finishing with three pars Woods reached halfway on 137, seven under, and found himself two behind South African Thomas Aiken.



McIlroy, though, was only just setting off and had the chance to open some daylight.



It is almost 15 months since Woods last tasted victory, just before his life was turned upside down by revelations of serial adultery.



Westwood, who took over as number one last October, is in the hunt too, but a closing bogey left him on five under following a 70.



Kaymer, meanwhile, added a 71 to his opening 69 to be one further back.



Aiken, yet to win on the European Tour, still had three holes to play, but he too birdied the difficult sixth.

Woods said: "I played myself right back into the tournament. I felt I hit the ball a lot better and the greens were absolutely perfect.

"It was steady. I didn't make as many mistakes as yesterday and I felt it was important to post a number."



Westwood, who missed the cut last week, is still searching for his sparkling best.



"I'm a bit disappointed with the way I've hit it the first two days," he commented. "You have chances out there - you've just got to be on your game."

Aiken added a further birdie on the eighth and with a 67 had opened up a three-stroke lead at 10 under.

McIlroy's hopes of regaining top spot suffered a setback when he bogeyed the second to go back to six under, but fellow Northern Irishman Michael Hoey birdied five of the last six holes to join Woods and Dane Anders Hansen in second place.



Former British amateur champion Hoey, who won his first European Tour event in Portugal two years ago, had turned in a one over 36, but with a birdie at the short 11th he roared home in a six under 31.



McIlroy was back moving in the right direction with a two at the 186-yard seventh and when Sergio Garcia matched that the pair were part of a seven-way tie for second on seven under.

On the same mark were Woods, Hansen, Hoey - all finished - plus Australian Brett Rumford and England's Steve Webster.



Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat