Woods, Garcia, McIlroy in the hunt in Dubai
Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy were all set on ending long winless streaks on the final day of the Dubai Desert Classic today.other Updated: Feb 13, 2011 13:28 IST
Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy were all set on ending long winless streaks on the final day of the Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday.
They were part of a leaderboard logjam that saw 20 players poised to strike within three strokes of the lead.
That was shared at eight under between McIlroy, the 21-year-old Ulsterman who held the outright lead after the first two rounds, Anders Hansen of Denmark and Thomas Aiken of South Africa.
Woods, whose last win was in November, 2009 and Garcia, who last tasted victory a year before that, were in a group of seven players a stroke further back.
Those included Spanish Pair Alvaro Quiros and Alvaro Velasco, Brett Rumford of Australia, Jean-Baptiste Gonnet of France and Fredrik Andersson Hed of Sweden.
They were all preparing to deal with another day of gusting desert winds and slick greens that made Saturday's round such a tough grind, especially for those with afternoon starts.
A win for 35-year-old Woods, who spent last year in turmoil after a sex scandal wrecked his marriage, shattered his public image and as a consequence shackled his golf game, would send a clear signal that he is on the way back.
With a swing he has drastically remodelled in the company of Candadian coach Sean Foley, Woods has but one thing on his mind at the time of the year - honing his golf game in time for the year's first major, The Masters in early April.
At one stage he had looked out of it on Saturday after a double bogey at the ninth had left him eight shots off the lead.
But a strong finish saw him close the gap on Garcia and McIlroy, and he declared himself ready for the final round challenge.
"The fact that I was able to battle back, being 4-over par, put myself in with a chance going into tomorrow, I'm proud that I have and hopefully I can build on that," said Woods who is paired with Garcia.
McIlroy, looking for his first European Tour win since his big breakthrough here two years ago, plays with Velasco.