Friday, March 12, 2010

DORAL, Fla. (AP) — Apparently, it doesn't matter what type of 5-wood Robert Allenby has in his bag.

He can make an ace with anything.

Allenby's roller-coaster of a CA Championship found another high point Friday, when his tee shot at the 233-yard par-3 13th hole found the right line, landed perfectly and rolled into the cup, with what he said was his 14th career hole-in-one.

It was the highlight of Allenby's round of 5-under 67, which put him one shot behind 36-hole leader Ernie Els at Doral.

"The four people out there were pretty happy," said Allenby, who lost the first-round lead by finishing with four straight bogeys Thursday. "Even the cameraman behind the green. So it was five."

Allenby's last ace wasn't that long ago: It came in the third-place match at the World Match Play Championship on Nov. 1 in Spain, when he topped Angel Cabrera.

That one came with Allenby playing a Srixon 5-wood, which he'd carried for about eight years. Friday's ace came with a TaylorMade, added to the bag about three weeks ago.

TIGER WATCH: Padraig Harrington came up with a new way to describe what the scene might be like when Tiger Woods finally returns to competitive golf.

"It does make it a bit more 'E! Entertainment,' doesn't it, rather than CBS," Harrington said.

Woods intends to remain out of golf at least until the Masters, two people with knowledge of his plans told The Associated Press on Thursday. The weekend rounds of the Masters are on CBS.

Harrington said he doesn't know what the reaction will be when Woods makes his first trip back to the first tee. Woods has not played since Nov. 15, when he won the Australian Masters in Melbourne for his 82nd career victory. Twelve days later, he crashed his SUV into a tree near his Florida home, setting off shocking revelations that he had been cheating on his wife.

"I think in general, people will be curious," Harrington said. "It'll be a bigger deal. Golf is held in such high esteem. Obviously with this whole thing, from a golfing standpoint, it has been disappointing. I know people at home who have no interest in golf. They watch Tiger Woods' interviews. There's going to be a lot more attention."

DROP KICK: Ricci Roberts, the caddie for Ernie Els, was walking off the yardage from the middle of the fairway on the par-5 first hole. Looking over at Els' ball as he stepped it off, he neglected to see Steve Stricker's ball until Roberts accidentally kicked it.

Oops. The ball went about 5 feet forward.

Stricker called for a ruling, then couldn't resist a jab or two at Roberts, who has been off the last few months.

"Have you caddied much?" Stricker said.

Stricker was told to drop the ball in its original spot with no penalty, and he wound up making an eagle. Els two-putted for birdie, and as Roberts walked toward the next tee, he said to no one in particular, "I'm looking for a job."

The ruling came from Andy McFee, the senior referee on the European Tour, who said there is no penalty in stroke play when another player or his caddie inadvertently moves a ball. Had this been match play, it would have been a one-shot penalty.

RAISING THE ANTENNA: Ian Poulter called for a ruling to the right of the 11th green because of a 30-foot antenna in the way of his shot. This was news to PGA Tour rules official Slugger White, who didn't know there was an antenna there.

Poulter was given free relief, then White summoned the operations staff to figure out not only what kind of antenna it was, but why it was so close to the 11th green.

Turns out it was erected for XM radio to provide a stronger signal for fans who have purchased small radio headsets for the week. White asked the staff that the tower be moved as quickly as possible.

CONFIDENT HAAS: Bill Haas got his year off with a bang, winning the Bob Hope Classic for his first PGA Tour victory.

He's still riding that momentum.

Haas started with three straight birdies Friday in the second round of the CA Championship, shooting a bogey-free 66 to get within three shots of Ernie Els at Doral.

"The win was huge," Haas said. "This is my fifth year, and I was thinking that it could happen at any time. I hadn't really put myself in that many great positions, but when I had, I hadn't really finished it off. So that was a big confidence booster. Maybe I can do it again."

That win is why Haas is in this World Golf Championships field. So far, he's taken advantage.

"I wouldn't even be thinking about playing this week if that hadn't happened," Haas said.

STAT OF THE DAY: Only two players made birdie at the par-3 4th hole, which played to 223 yards on Friday. Zach Johnson made a 25-footer for his birdie, and Y.E. Yang dropped a putt from 15 feet for his 2.

Just about everyone else - 49 of the field's other 66 players - made par, including everyone on the first page of the leaderboard.

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