McIlroy Tops Woods in Exhibition

Rory McIlroy defeated Tiger Woods in the first one-on-one exhibition match between golf's two biggest names on Monday in China.

McIlroy shot a 5-under 67 to beat Woods by one stroke in an 18-hole match at the Jinsha Lake Golf Club in central China.

The event was called the "Duel at Jinsha Lake," and marked the first time the two golfers had played head-to-head without other competitors.

Woods said he'd relish the chance to take on McIlroy more often to create a rivalry at the top of the game similar to the one between Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray that have made men's tennis so exciting in recent years.

McIlroy took an early lead with two birdies on the first three holes and held on to beat Woods, who had two bogeys to go along with his six birdies for the day. The 14-time major winner finished with a 68.

After falling two strokes behind on the front nine, Woods hit a perfect chip shot from the fairway on the par-3 12th hole that hit the pin and dropped in for birdie, bringing him within one shot of the Northern Irishman.

However, he then missed a long putt for par on the next hole, settling for bogey, while McIlroy sank a 7-footer for par.
Woods made birdie on the 14th hole to pull within a stroke again, but he missed his final chance to level the score on the 18th when he misplayed his approach shot and landed in a bunker, muttering "where did that go?"

The first head-to-head matchup between Woods and McIlroy -- at the eight-player World Golf Final in Turkey this month -- was far more one-sided. Woods shot a 7-under 64 to defeat the Northern Irishman by six strokes in a group match at the exhibition event.

China has lured a number of the world's top players with lucrative exhibitions in the past few years as part of an effort to grow the sport's popularity and market a bevy of new celebrity-designed courses.


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