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The Early Lead
Posted at 02:00 PM ET, 01/27/2012

Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy two shots back in Abu Dhabi


“I thought I played well today.” (Andrew Redington - Getty Images)
Tiger Woods reminded the world just how good he once was by closing out 2011 with a win at the Chevron World Challenge — his first victory in two years.

Now Woods is out to prove that wasn’t just a fluky blast from the past, but rather a sign of a return to the top.

That journey resumed this week at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, where Woods shot a 3-under 69 on Friday to go into the weekend two shots back of leader Thorbjorn Olesen.

“I thought I played well today,” Woods said. “I made a couple putts here and there, but it was tough out there. The greens got a little quicker, a little bit drier and the rough is certainly getting deeper and more lush.”


Rory McIlroy is tied with Woods and four others for fourth place. (Andrew Redington - Getty Images)
Woods goes into the weekend tied for fourth with U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy and Robert Karlsson of Sweden. Both shot 72 on Friday, but McIlroy was kicking himself for missing a chance to tie Olesen for the lead. He was given a two-stroke penalty for brushing away sand in front of his ball on the fringe of the ninth hole.

After a bogey-free first round, Woods struggled to read the greens on Friday. But he still managed to close strong with three birdies and a single bogey on the back nine. He credited new coach Sean Foley for his efforts to rework his swing.

“Certainly I have much more experience within the system, and I’ve grown to understand what Sean wants me to do and how my body is going to do those things and produce the numbers he wants me to produce,” Woods said. “If you would have asked me (six to eight months ago) if I would understand the system as well as I do and the numbers I’m producing, I probably would have said no ... Now I do and when we talk, it’s very simple.”

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By  |  02:00 PM ET, 01/27/2012

 
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