• Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, Round Two

Rory and Tiger fluff their lines

ESPN staff
January 18, 2013
Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy miss the cut

Abu Dhabi Golf Championship leaderboard

The world's top two players faltered at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, with Rory McIlroy missing the cut and Tiger Woods likewise after picking up a two-shot penalty.

Woods was given a retrospective two-shot penalty for an infringement on the fifth and that cost him a place in the field for the weekend.

At the top end of the leaderboard, Justin Rose maintained a position of strength - climbing to eight-under - with a clutch of players giving chase.

There is intense focus on McIlroy following the confirmation of his mega-money sponsorship deal with Nike. By the look of the way he played for two days, there is much work to be done with his new sticks.

A 75 on the opening day left him with ground to make up and bogeys on four, five and seven turned that into a mountain to climb. He found a birdie on eight and followed up with another at nine - which came despite sending his tee shot into the hazard on the right. He somehow found a clear lie, put his approach to the side of the green and chipped in for a birdie.

That proved a false dawn as bogeys on 10 and 14 sealed his fate and sent him home, or possibly on a flight to Melbourne to see girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki in action at the Australian Open.

Woods will not be around for the weekend despite getting his round on track following a shocking start. He was wayward from the off, making bogeys on one, two and four. A shocking drive on five found the shrubbery and it resulted in another bogey on the card. That was the tee shot that cost him dear. He felt his ball was plugged in the bush and was automatic relief, but officials later ruled it was a hazard and therefore not eligible for relief.

Commenting on the incident, Woods told Sky Sports: "On five, I called Martin (Kaymer, playing partner) over to verify the ball was embedded. We both agreed, but evidently it was in sand and Andy (McFee, European Tour senior referee) ruled I broke an infraction, which is a two-shot penalty. Andy feels the way he feels about it and I broke the rules.

"Andy said the ball was not embedded because it was sandy. Martin and I thought it was embedded, but it obviously wasn't.

"It is tough. I did not get off to a good start but I fought and got it back and felt I had a chance going into the weekend."

It was a blow, as Woods steadied the ship with an excellent two-putt par on six and found his first green in regulation on seven. And he did that in style gunning an iron to eight feet. The putt horseshoed out but he made up for it with a birdie on eight.

His form improved on the back nine and by putting the ball in position, he was able to reel off birdies on 14, 15 and 16. A wild tee shot on 17 cost him a bogey and left him at one-over after 36 holes - which was revised down to three-over and beyond the cut line.

While Woods and McIlroy gave passable impressions of club hackers, Rose was anything but as he plotted his way round the Abu Dhabi Golf Club with precision. Having posted a 67 on Thursday, Rose carried his momentum from the first day into his second round. He fired at pins - hitting 16 of 18 greens in regulation - and was rewarded with a string of chances. He saved the best for last, with a quite brilliant approach to three feet to set up a birdie and a round of 69.

"It was a beautiful, day, still with no wind, and it gave scoring chances," Rose told Sky Sports. "I thought I played much better today, I was hitting it pin high which is good iron control.

"I have been driving well and you have to do that round here. I hit 15 or 16 greens and I was pleased with that."

Martin Kaymer put his higher-profile playing partners - Woods and McIlroy - in the shade, as a round of 69 moved him to four-under - alongside a big group containing Jason Dufner and Matteo Manasero.

Gonzalo Fernandez Castano, Jamie Donaldson and Thorbjorn Olesen are one shot behind leader Rose.

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