McIlroy plans busy preparation for 2018 Masters

Rory McIlroy

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy says he will play in at least seven tournaments in early 2018 as he prepares for the Masters in April.

The Green Jacket is the only major to have eluded McIlroy and next year’s Masters will be his fourth attempt at completing the career Grand Slam.

The 28-year-old, a former world number one, is now 10th in the rankings.

Last year he split from long-time caddie JP Fitzgerald, replacing him with close friend Harry Diamond.

Rory McIlroy on Twitter

McIlroy said on his website he would start his campaign with two European Tour events in the Middle East in January – the Abu Dhabi Championship and Dubai Desert Classic.

He then plans to switch his focus to the PGA Tour, playing in five tournaments in six weeks, starting at Pebble Beach in February.

McIlroy is currently having a break from competition after an injury-hit 2017 in which he did not win a tournament for the first time since 2008.

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England's Hull fifth as teenager Yin wins in Dubai

Angel Yin

Dubai Ladies Classic final leaderboard
-15 Yin (USA), Herbin (Fra), Kim (Kor); -13 Van Dam (Ned), Ashok (Ind); -12 Hull (Eng)
Selected others:-10 Thompson (Sco); -9 McDonald (Sco), Clyburn (Eng); -8 Shadoff (Eng), Burke (Eng)

American teenager Angel Yin won a three-way play-off to win the Dubai Ladies Classic as England’s Charley Hull finished fifth.

The 19-year-old carded a five-under 67 to put her in a tie on 15 under with France’s Celine Herbin and South Korea’s Kim In-kyung.

Herbin was eliminated after the first play-off hole, before Yin birdied the next for her first professional title.

Hull finished on 12 under, three shots behind the leaders after her 69.

Scotland’s Michele Thompson was ninth on 10 under, with compatriot Kelsey MacDonald a shot back, alongside England’s Holly Clyburn.

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Tommy Horton: Former Ryder Cup golfer dies at the age of 76

Tommy Horton

Former Ryder Cup golfer Tommy Horton has died at the age of 76.

Horton, who lived in Jersey, played for Great Britain and Ireland in the 1975 and 1977 Ryder Cups – both of which were won by the United States.

He also won four European Tour events and 23 events on the European Seniors Tour – topping its money list in 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999.

He was taken ill at the Royal Jersey Golf Club on Thursday and died shortly after in hospital.

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Hull three shots off Dubai lead

Charley Hull

Dubai Ladies Classic third-round leaderboard
-12 A V Dam (Ned); -10 A Yin (USA), P Lindberg (SWE), -9 C Hull (ENG), A Ashok (IND), -8 I K Kim (SKO), L Davies (ENG), K Burnett (USA), L Jansone (LAT), F Parker (ENG), N Larson (DEN)
Selected others: -7 H Burke, G Hall (both ENG), -6 J Shadoff, H Clyburn (both ENG), M Thompson, K MacDonald (both SCO)

England’s Charley Hull is three shots off the lead at the Dubai Ladies Classic after hitting a five-under par 67 in round three.

The 21-year-old, who trails leader Anne van Dam, hit an eagle on the par-four second hole, which she followed with three birdies in the next four holes.

England’s four time major winner Laura Davies, 54, is tied sixth after a 66.

Scotland’s Kelsey MacDonald finished two-over par for her round and is now in a tie for 16th place.

MacDonald, who enjoyed a promising start in Dubai this week, was one-over for her round at the turn, before recording a bogey at the 11th hole and a double bogey on the 14th hole.

She then rallied with a birdie at the 15th before parring the 16th, 17th and 18th holes.

The Netherlands’ Van Dam leads the field by two shots after carding a two-under par 70 on Friday to take her to 12-under par for the tournament.

Angel Yin from the US and Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg sit between Van Dam and Hull on 10-under par.

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Dubai Ladies Classic first-round leaderboard
-10A V Dam (Ned);-8K MacDonald (Sco);-7T Suwannapura (Tha), G Hall (Eng), C Yuan (Aus);-6S Sangchan (Tha), N B Larsen (Den), M Thomson (Sco), S Schober (Aut);-5H Burke, F Parker (both Eng), M Blomqvist (Fin), A Ashok (Ind)
Selected others:-4C Hull, M MacLaren (both Eng), P Pretswell Asher (Sco);-3H Clyburn (Eng);-2L Davies (Eng), G Dryburgh (Sco);-1J Ewart Shadoff, G Clews (both Eng)
Dubai Ladies Classic first-round leaderboard
-10A V Dam (Ned);-8K MacDonald (Sco);-7T Suwannapura (Tha), G Hall (Eng), C Yuan (Aus);-6S Sangchan (Tha), N B Larsen (Den), M Thomson (Sco), S Schober (Aut);-5H Burke, F Parker (both Eng), M Blomqvist (Fin), A Ashok (Ind)
Selected others:-4C Hull, M MacLaren (both Eng), P Pretswell Asher (Sco);-3H Clyburn (Eng);-2L Davies (Eng), G Dryburgh (Sco);-1J Ewart Shadoff, G Clews (both Eng)

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Scotland's Kelsey MacDonald stays second at Dubai Ladies Classic

Kelsey MacDonald plays a shot at the Dubai Ladies Classic

Dubai Ladies Classic first-round leaderboard
-10 A V Dam (Ned); -8 K MacDonald (Sco); -7 T Suwannapura (Tha), G Hall (Eng), C Yuan (Aus); -6 S Sangchan (Tha), N B Larsen (Den), M Thomson (Sco), S Schober (Aut); -5 H Burke, F Parker (both Eng), M Blomqvist (Fin), A Ashok (Ind)
Selected others:-4 C Hull, M MacLaren (both Eng), P Pretswell Asher (Sco); -3 H Clyburn (Eng); -2 L Davies (Eng), G Dryburgh (Sco); -1 J Ewart Shadoff, G Clews (both Eng)

Scotland’s Kelsey MacDonald is two shots off the lead at the Dubai Ladies Classic after hitting a four-under-par 68 in round two.

The 27-year-old world number 521 made six birdies and two bogeys to move to outright second on eight under.

England’s Georgia Hall is in a three-way tie for third, one shot behind MacDonald, after a five-under 67.

Anne van Dam of the Netherlands leads on 10 under after a bogey-free seven-under 65 at Emirates Golf Club.

MacDonald, who is seeking her first Ladies’ European Tour title, was one under for her round at the turn as Van Dam surged ahead with five birdies on the front nine.

The Scot then made bogey at 11 but closed with four successive birdies to end up Van Dam’s nearest challenger after starting the day in a four-way tie for second.

Overnight leader Supamas Sangchan dropped back after a one-under 71 and is now in a share of sixth that also includes Scotland’s Michelle Thomson who shot 68.

England’s Hannah Burke and Florentyna Parker are 10th in a group of four players five shots off the lead.

Compatriot Charley Hull, the world number 28, is a shot further back, alongside England’s Meghan MacLaren and Scotland’s Pamela Pretswell Asher.

Dame Laura Davies, 54, slipped out of the top 10 after making four bogeys and three birdies in a one-over 73.

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Scotland's Kelsey MacDonald one off the lead at Dubai Ladies Classic

Kelsey Macdonald in first-round action at the Dubai Ladies Classic

Dubai Ladies Classic first-round leaderboard
-5 S Sangchan (Tha); -4 K MacDonald (Sco), N Madsen (Nor), M Blomqvist (Fin), N Tamminen (Fin), C Yuan (Aus); -3 A Menendez (Mex), S Walker (Eng), P Lindberg (Swe), F Parker (Eng), L Davies (Eng), A V Dam (Ned), A Lewis (USA)
Selected others: -2 M Thomson (Sco), C Hull (Eng), G Hall (Eng), G Dryburgh (Sco); -1 B Morgan (Wal); level P Asher (Sco), K Henry (Sco), H Burke (Eng), F Johnson (Eng)

Scotland’s Kelsey MacDonald is one shot off the lead at the Dubai Ladies Classic after six birdies in a four under opening round of 68.

The 27-year-old world number 521, seeking her first Ladies European Tour title, collected three birdies on each nine at the Emirates Golf Club.

Three other Britons are in the top 10, including 54-year-old Dame Laura Davies, who had five birdies in a 69.

Supamas Sangchan, the 21-year-old from Thailand, leads the four-round event.

World number 238 Sangchan, who recorded her first European title at the co-sanctioned Sanya Ladies Open in China last year, began at the 10th and birdied four of the first six holes on her inward nine.

Charley Hull, the world number 28 from Kettering, is three off the lead, recovering from one over after 12 with three birdies in the closing six holes.

The next highest ranked British player, Bournemouth’s world number 40 Georgia Hall, is also two under after three birdies on day one.

Noora Tamminen, one of the Finnish players to celebrate the centenary of the country’s independence by dressing in the national colours of blue and white, had a hole-in-one at the 140-yard 11th.

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Rickie Fowler hits 61 to win Hero World Challenge as Tiger Woods impresses

Rickie Fowler plays a shot at the Hero World Challenge

Hero World Challenge, final round
-18 R Fowler (US); -14 C Hoffman (US); -12 T Fleetwood (Eng), J Spieth (US); -11 H Matsuyama (Jpn), P Reed (US), J Rose (Eng); -10 F Molinari (Ita); -8 T Woods, M Kuchar (both US)
Final leaderboard

Rickie Fowler hit a stunning 11-under-par 61 to win the Hero World Challenge after Tiger Woods capped his return from injury with a solid final round.

American Fowler, 28, trailed overnight leader Charley Hoffman by seven shots but made eight birdies in a dazzling front nine to lead at the turn.

He added three more birdies to break the tournament and course records at Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas and win by four strokes over Hoffman.

Woods, 41, carded a four-under 68.

The 14-time major winner, playing his first tournament since withdrawing from February’s Dubai Desert Classic with back spasms, went out in 31, hitting three birdies and an eagle at the seventh.

He recovered from a double bogey on 10 with three birdies in his next five holes, before successive bogeys at 17 and 18 saw him finish tied ninth on eight under overall in the 18-man unofficial PGA Tour event.

Having had multiple back operations in recent years, Woods said he felt “no pain” during his latest comeback and that his play indicated a “bright future”.

England’s Tommy Fleetwood carded a five-under 67 to finish tied third with world number two Jordan Spieth, six shots off Fowler.

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Woods 10 shots off Hoffman's lead after third-round 75

Tiger Woods plays out of a bunker at the Hero World Challenge

Hero World Challenge, third round
-14 C Hoffman (US); -9 J Rose (Eng), J Spieth (US); -8 F Molinari (Ita); -7 R Fowler, M Kuchar, P Reed (all US), H Matsuyama (Jpn), T Fleetwood (Eng); -4 T Woods, K Chappell (both US)
Full leaderboard

Former world number one Tiger Woods faded from contention in his comeback at the Hero World Challenge with a three-over 75 in the third round.

After two impressive rounds, the 41-year-old American struggled in windy conditions, making four bogeys in seven holes before a further bogey on 10.

The 14-time major winner rallied with the putter late on, making birdies at 14 and 17 to move back to four under.

He is 10 behind Charley Hoffman, who extended his lead to five with a 70.

American Hoffman, 40, is now 14 under and his nearest challengers at Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas are his compatriot Jordan Spieth and England’s Justin Rose.

Race to Dubai winner Tommy Fleetwood was on nine under heading to the last but made a double-bogey to drop into a five-way tie for fifth at the 18-strong invitational tournament, which benefits Woods’ charitable foundation.

Woods wobbles in the wind

High winds prevented low scoring for the entire field on Saturday, with Woods particularly erratic early on, missing the fairway with his opening tee shot before a poor chip and a missed putt from 12 feet for par.

More indifferent chips led to bogeys on the third, sixth and seventh holes, while a weak second shot on 10 left him with too much to do to save par.

However, he rolled in a tough 10-foot putt for birdie on 14, taking off his cap and bowing to the crowd, before a superb tee shot on the par-three 17th set up a second birdie.

“Anything that I did right ended up in a bad spot and everything I did wrong was really bad,” said Woods, who is playing his first tournament after nine months out with a back injury.

“It’s ridiculous it took me 14 holes to make a birdie – it’s just one of those days.

“I’ve missed the fight. Getting out there and competing, fighting against the golf course and the rest of the guys – it’s so much fun. I missed doing this.”

Hoffman was unable to match his second-round 63, but still managed six birdies thanks to another fine putting display.

Bogeys at the first and eighth and a double bogey at the 10th prevented him building a more substantial lead, with only Daniel Berger in tied 16th matching Hoffman’s two-under 70 as the round of the day.

Rose will look to make a charge on Sunday after staying in contention with a one-under 71, as will Spieth following a level-par 72.

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Tiger Woods: Fourteen-time major winner five shots off lead on injury return

Tiger Woods takes a shot on the 18th at the Hero World Challenge

Hero World Challenge, second round
-12 C Hoffman (US); -9 T Fleetwood (Eng), J Spieth (US); -8 J Rose (Eng); -7 R Fowler, M Kuchar, T Woods (all US), H Matsuyama (Jpn), F Molinari (Ita)
Full leaderboard

Fourteen-time major winner Tiger Woods continued his impressive return from injury with a four-under-par 68 in round two of the Hero World Challenge.

The American, 41, backed up an opening-round 69 with four birdies and an eagle, before two bogeys in the last seven holes saw him finish seven under.

Compatriot Charley Hoffman leads on 12 under after carding a stunning nine-under 63, making 12 birdies in total.

Tommy Fleetwood of England and Jordan Spieth are second, three shots behind.

Race to Dubai winner Fleetwood, 26, led overnight but threatened to slip out of contention with a double-bogey on 10 and bogey on 11, before rallying with three consecutive birdies from the 13th to finish with a three-under 69.

Justin Rose is a stroke further back after a second straight four-under 68, with Woods in a five-way tie for fifth in the Bahamas.

Woods has had multiple back operations in recent years and in September said he might never return to competitive action.

Front nine charge

Starting the day three shots behind Fleetwood, Woods birdied three of the first four holes before rolling in a 15-foot putt for eagle on the ninth to move into the outright lead at the turn.

Having struggled at times with his short game in round one, Woods produced a fine chip from a tight lie to set up birdie on the 11th.

However, he three-putted on 12 to drop his first shot of the round before a miscued drive on the last resulted in another bogey.

“After that 31 on the front nine I could have gotten a few more on that back nine,” Woods told the Golf Channel.

“I had a difficult time all day with my speed on the greens – they seemed to be about a foot faster and I airmailed a few of them well past the hole.

“I proved that the surgery was successful, the rehab has been fantastic and now I’ve got a chance to go out there and play competitive golf again.”

Hoffman started his round level with Woods and also went out in 31, thanks to six birdies and one bogey.

The 40-year-old hit back-to-back bogeys on 12 and 13, but birdied the last five holes to surge into the lead.

The 18-strong invitational tournament, which benefits Woods’ charitable foundation, also includes world number one Dustin Johnson, who stayed at four under after shooting an even-par 72,

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Woods shoots three-under-par 69 after nine months out

Tiger Woods

Hero World Challenge, first round
-6 T Fleetwood (Eng); -5 R Fowler (US), M Kuchar (US); -4 J Rose (Eng), K Chappell (US), D Johnson (US), J Spieth (US); -3 T Woods (US), J Thomas (US), C Hoffman (US), F Molinari (Ita)
Full leaderboard

Fourteen-time major winner Tiger Woods shot a three-under-par 69 as he returned at the Hero World Challenge following nine months out injured.

The American, 41, has had multiple back operations in recent years and was forced to withdraw from February’s Dubai Desert Classic with back spasms.

In September, he said he might never return to competitive action.

He shot five birdies and two bogeys to trail England’s Tommy Fleetwood by three shots in the Bahamas.

“I didn’t know what I could do,” Woods said.

“I’ve been playing a lot of holes at home but it’s different when you are in a tournament. I had a lot of adrenaline going and I had to dial it back a bit.

“Those are the internal struggles I haven’t been through in a while. To come out here and score like I did was nice. It was fun to be part of a scorecard again.”

Woods is seeking his first tournament win since 2013, and has not won a major since 2008.

The 18-strong invitational tournament, which benefits Woods’ charitable foundation, also includes world number one Dustin Johnson. second-ranked Jordan Spieth and world number three Justin Thomas.

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