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Molinari Holds Lead; Westwood One Back, Tiger & Phil Five Back – SportsUntapped.com
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Added November 5th, 2010 by Chalk

Molinari Holds Lead; Westwood One Back, Tiger & Phil Five Back
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Focus at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China is on the four men who could leave with the World No. 1 ranking, but for the second straight day Italy’s Francesco Molinari (World No. 30) was atop the leaderboard. Molinari followed an opening-round 65 with a second round 70 to lead at -9 midway through the event. For the second straight day, new No. 1 Lee Westwood was alone in second place, one shot back.

As for the three men who could knock Westwood out of the top spot after just one week, old No. 1/new No. 2 Tiger Woods only managed an even-par 72 on Friday, falling five shots behind Molinari and four behind Westwood. At -4 for the tournament, Tiger is one of nine golfers tied for ninth place, including World No. 4 Phil Mickelson. Mickelson has gone 69/71 in his first two rounds. Right behind Tiger and Phil is World No. 3 Martin Kaymer, who followed an even-par 72 opening round with a 69 on Friday, good for a tie for 18th.

Tiger appeared frustrated at times on Friday — even kicking his driver after a poor shot on hole No. 18, but tried to be philosophical about his second round. “My score could have been worse,” Tiger said. “But it also could have been a lot better.” Friday’s 72 means Tiger still hasn’t opened a single tournament this year with consecutive rounds under 70.

Leader Molinari doesn’t think the four-way battle for the world’s top ranking is a distraction to him or the other 74 golfers in the field:

It’s really exciting for everyone watching that one of the four guys could be No. 1 in the world at the end of the week. But for us, it doesn’t really make a difference. We play together with them, against them, pretty much week in and week out. So everyone is really just focusing on improving his ranking rather than seeing who is going to be on top.

Besides Molinari and Westwood, six other golfers are ahead of Tiger and Mickelson. World No. 12 Ernie Els shot a 65 on Friday to move two shots behind Molinari and into a three-way tie for third with No. 211 Richie Ramsay of Scotland and fellow South African No. 434 Jaco Van Zyl.  World No. 8 Luke Donald of England is alone in sixth at -6, while No. 72 Seung-yul Noh of Korea and No. 27 Ross Fisher of England.

 
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