DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Tiger Woods shot one-under 71 on Friday to maintain a slim lead at the Dubai Desert Classic.
Woods is eight under, one shot ahead of Ireland's Damien McGrane, who shot 69 on Friday, one of the few players to break 70 on a day when wind gusts sent sand flying across the Emirates Golf Club. Prominent names near the top of the leaderboard included Henrik Stenson (-6), Sergio Garcia (-5) and Ernie Els (-4). (All scores at europeantour.com.)
\nOn Thursday, Woods said he played better in Dubai than he did last week at Torrey Pines, where he won the Buick Invitational by eight shots.
``I had two good days of practice the last couple days and started to hit the ball a lot better than I did last week,'' said Woods, who won the Dubai tournament in 2006.
Last year, Woods was plagued by poor putting and finished third here. He missed a few chances Thursday, but wasn't complaining.
``I had a couple of good opportunities to make some putts and just kind of ran them over the edge, but overall today was just - couldn't ask for a better start,'' the world's No. 1 player said.
Jet lag also hasn't appeared to bother him.
``The better shape I've gotten, the easier it is. I don't usually have a problem. It usually takes me maybe a day and I'm good to go,'' said Woods, who arrived in Dubai on Tuesday after flying halfway around the world to the oil-rich United Arab Emirates.
Woods' dominant win at the Buick Invitational was his fourth straight and 62nd career title, tying Arnold Palmer for fourth place on the PGA Tour list. If he triumphs in Dubai, it will be his seventh win in eight starts.
``He's playing at a very good level at the moment,'' Garcia said. ``We know that the only thing we can do is keep trying, keep trying, keep playing our hardest and, you know, try to challenge him as much as possible.''
Kaymer had been trailing Woods by one until he bogeyed the final hole.
Jimenez had a hole-in-one on the seventh.
Colin Montgomerie, who played in the same pairing with Woods, banged his driver on the turf after hitting a wayward shot at the ninth hole. Though the Scot made four birdies, he also had two double-bogeys - including at the ninth - to finish at 72.