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Players ready for the unexpected at Dove Mountain

(Reuters) - Unpredictability is the abiding theme for this week's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at Dove Mountain in Marana, Arizona where every player in the 64-man field is prepared to expect the unexpected. Because of the sheer lottery of the matchplay format, good form does not guarantee success in Wednesday's opening round and a player could easily be sent packing despite piling up a bunch of birdies in a bogey-free display.

McIlroy aiming to emulate Mickelson's unique double

(Reuters) - Former world number one Rory McIlroy will play at the Scottish Open for the first time in five years in July intending to emulate Phil Mickelson's unique 2013 achievement. American left-hander Mickelson became the first player to land the Scottish Open-British Open double when he followed up his win at Castle Stuart in Inverness with victory at Muirfield.

Golf: McIlroy to play in Scottish Open

Rory McIlroy has signed up to play in the Scottish Open in July, hoping that he can follow the example of Phil Mickelson last year who won the tournament and went on the following week to win the British Open. The two-time major champion admits that watching the American triumph at Castle Stuart Golf Links in 2013 and then go on to win at Muirfield the following week helped make up his mind to return to the event for the first time in five years.

Gallacher overcomes dire start to retain Dubai title

By Matt Smith DUBAI (Reuters) - Scotland's Stephen Gallacher struck a final round 72 to clinch the $2.5 million Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday as he overcame a nightmare start to become the first player to retain the coffee pot trophy. Gallacher, whose Dubai win 12 months ago was his first title in nearly a decade, skittered four bogeys on the front nine holes, but clawed back four shots after the turn in a gritty display to end on 272.

Gallacher equals tour record to overhaul McIlroy

By Matt Smith DUBAI (Reuters) - Champion Stephen Gallacher amassed seven birdies and an eagle on the back nine on Saturday, tying a European Tour record, as the scintillating Scot snatched the Dubai Desert Classic third-round lead from Rory McIlroy. Gallacher, 39, blitzed his way to a nine-under-par 63 - the joint lowest round of this year's event - to finish with a 16-under total of 200, two clear of world number six McIlroy having started the day four adrift.

Golf: Rory eyes wedding payday

Rory McIlroy's heart could have missed a beat on Sunday when he saw his tee-shot at the 17th hole of the Dubai Desert Classic dart off in the direction of the hole. For on offer for an unlikely hole-in-one at the short par-four is a world record $2.5million (1.83million euros). The tee was brought forward some 25 yards to stand at 325 yards, well within the distance of most of today's top pros. But there is an array of trouble from trees, sand and desert bush short of the green to get over first.

Golf: McIlroy happy with leading role in Dubai

A birdie at the last gave Rory McIlroy the outright lead at the halfway stage of the Dubai Desert Classic on Friday and that counts for the Northern Irishman. He believes he is a good front-runner and would prefer to be ahead rather than waiting in ambush. "I'm leading the golf tournament. I've been in this position before and I've gone on to win," he said after a 70 left him at 11 under for the tournament, one stroke clear of young American Brooks Koepka.

Golf: McIlroy looking for Dubai bounce

Rory McIlroy is hoping that his return to tournament play in Dubai this week can inspire him to a huge improvement on the last 12 months. The 24-year-old former world number one from Northern Ireland won his first tournament as a professional at the 2009 Dubai Desert Classic, and he has become an ambassador for golf in the bustling emirate over the last few years.

Woods finishes down the field in Dubai curtain-raiser

DUBAI (Reuters) - World number one Tiger Woods double-bogeyed the final hole to finish down the field in the $600,000 Champions Challenge on Tuesday, the curtain-raiser to this week's Dubai Desert Classic. The 14-times major winner, who missed the third-round cut at last week's Farmers Insurance Open in California, carded a one-under 71 at the Emirates Golf Club to trail joint winners Henrik Stenson of Sweden and Spain's Rafael Cabrera-Bello by five strokes.

Golf: Tiger and Rory together in Dubai

Top draws Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy will go head-to-head over the first two rounds of the 25th anniversary Dubai Desert Classic on Thursday and Friday. They will be hoping for a better showing than a year ago when both opted to start their season in nearby Abu Dhabi and, playing together, miserably missed the cut. This time, both players have already lit the fuse to their new seasons with contrasting fortunes.
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