DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Eight years ago, Ross Fisher was fetching balls for Tiger Woods on the practice range. Now, the Englishman holds a five-shot lead over the defending champion entering the third round of the Dubai Desert Classic.
Fisher shot a second consecutive 7-under-par 65 Friday and was at 14 under halfway through the tournament. Woods struggled with his putting again and finished with a 67 to stand at 9 under.
"It was kind of weird," Woods said. "I just didn't feel like I made many putts today. I was all around the hole and most of them were actually misreads."
Three-time Desert Classic winner Ernie Els climbed within two strokes of the lead with an eagle on the 13th hole. The second round was cut short because of darkness at Emirates Golf Club after a rare Dubai thunderstorm delayed play for more than two hours. Fisher held a four-stroke clubhouse lead over Peter Hanson and Graeme McDowell.
"I'm hitting the ball probably as good as I've ever hit it," said Fisher, who had eight birdies and a bogey. "It would be tough to have a third 65, but you know it's out there if you play well."
The Desert Classic is just the second tournament in which Fisher has been the leader - the first was the 2005 China Open.
Now, Fisher faces the possibility of playing alongside Woods on Sunday if they are the top two heading into the final round.