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Garrigus leads halfway through CIMB; Woods in 5th

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Garrigus leads halfway through CIMB; Woods in 5th

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) Five strokes off the lead after two rounds, Tiger Woods thinks the CIMB Classic course ``can be had'' and still expects a total of better than 20 under to win it.

Robert Garrigus, the second-round leader by two strokes over South Africa's Jbe Kruger, has upped the ante. With back-to-back rounds of 64 and a 14-under total of 128, he's looking to go 10 strokes beyond Woods' projection to win the tournament.

``I'm going to try to get to 30 if I can,'' he said, explaining that in his first tournament of the year he was 6 over after eight holes and played the next 54 at 32-under par. ``So I can do it. I just need to do it on the weekend when it counts.

``I feel like if I'm putting well, no disrespect to anybody on the PGA Tour, they're all great players, but I feel like I can beat anybody in the world.''

Garrigus' 128 is his lowest ever 36-hole total in a PGA Tour-sanctioned event, improving on the 130 he had when he finished second this year in the Canadian Open. The American has one tour title, in 2010, but has six runner-up finishes - including three this season. A win Sunday won't officially count on the PGA Tour, but the CIMB Classic is being added to the tour schedule for next year.

There's no reason he can't beat Woods, who was upstaged by playing partner Kruger on Friday at The Mines.

Playing his first competitive round with Woods, Kruger pumped his right arm after each of his eight birdies in a round that contained only one bogey despite the soggy conditions. He had 64 in his second round and was 12 under, two shots clear of Australia's Greg Chalmers (69) and overnight leader Troy Matteson, who followed his opening 63 with 69.

Woods had a 67 and was tied for fifth at 9 under with Kevin Na (66) and Zimbabwe's Brendon De Jonge (65).

The 14-time major winner rarely betrays his emotions on the course. After chipping in from off the green for a birdie at the seventh, he raised his club in the air and smiled for the first time in his second round. He even thanked a woman in the big crowd after she loudly commended his birdie at the fifth. But when he left a par putt just short, he glared at the ball as it rolled past the edge of the cup and shook his head.

Both bogeys in Woods' round followed wayward tee shots. At the fourth he sliced right and landed near four parked vans and a row of public toilets, then hit his second shot into a muddy bank near the left front of the green. He had a tough lie where it sloped down to a lake, and asked for a rules official to examine it before chipping on in a spray of dirt.

At the 12th, he hit into a thick, grassy bank on the right of the fairway, got on to the green in three and stared blankly as his par putt shaved the outside of the cup.

In between was a classic chip from off the green at the seventh that made him smile for the first time in his round.

``That was nice. It looked like I was going to go the other way,'' he said. ``I jerked a nine iron over to the left - you shouldn't miss a green with a nine iron that bad - but I hit a really good shot and it trickled in like a putt.''

He said he left a few birdies on the course because he wasn't hitting his irons into the right spots, leaving him with tough downhill, across-the-green putts.

Woods is confident he can convert those near misses into birdies on the weekend. He won the individual and team titles at the 1999 World Cup on his last visit here.

``The golf course can be had, especially if we have ball in hand like we did today,'' he said.

``It's wet. It's a little bit muddy ... (but) it can be had out there. I just have to get after it tomorrow, where at least I have a chance going into Sunday.''

It was hot and humid for the second consecutive day and, with the course still damp after a heavy tropical storm the previous evening, the PGA Tour allowed preferred lies so that players could lift, clean and place muddy balls in the closely mown areas through the green.

Woods' group is one shot ahead of three Americans at 7 under, including 2010 champion Ben Crane, 2011 runner-up Jeff Overton and Brian Harman.

South Africa's Trevor Immelman had the low round of the day with a 63 to move into a share of 11th place with defending champion Bo Van Pelt. Nick Watney improved by six strokes in his second round by firing a 65 to move to 6 under, but Justin Dufner was 2 over in his second round, 12 strokes behind.

Kruger slipped up only once, at the 12th, and took no chances on the 18th when he decided to putt from off the green instead of using his pitching wedge to have a better shot at a par.

He had a double-bogey on 18 in the first round, his only blemish of that day.

``I think playing with (Woods) definitely made me concentrate a bit harder,'' Kruger said. ``That is one thing I've been lacking the last couple of months, so I think I want to play with him every day!''

Garrigus started the day in second spot at 7 under and got as low as 15 under before leaving his par putt just short on the 18th hole for his only bogey of the round.

He had a run of four consecutive birdies from the seventh hole and added another four from the 12th to the 17th holes.

``If I keep putting like this on the weekend, it's going to be hard to catch me,'' he said. ``I do have a very high confidence level right now ... and I feel like I can beat anybody, doesn't matter who I'm playing.''

Even if that means No. 1-ranked Rory McIlroy, No. 2 Woods or Phil Mickelson.

``I finished fourth (at the BMW Championship), and it was Rory, Phil, Tiger, and they were all right next to me,'' he said. ``I was staring them down. That's a good feeling.''

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These hidden factors could make Brandon Scherff less interested in an extension with the Redskins

These hidden factors could make Brandon Scherff less interested in an extension with the Redskins

In Brandon Scherff, the Redskins have a 27-year-old guard who has delivered on his first-round status, a lineman who has become one of the best in the league at his position and should have many more years of production and defender-mauling left.

Therefore, it's in the Redskins' best interest to extend Scherff this offseason, and the veteran confirmed on Monday there have been talks about getting that done

But during a discussion on the Redskins Talk podcast, J.I. Halsell, a salary cap expert and former agent, laid out something that could force those negotiations to stall.

"There are some things you have to take into consideration because 2020 is the final year of the collective bargaining agreement, so there are some things you have to work around when structuring the deal," Halsell said.

Not only is that deadline approaching, but another one is, too. In 2021 and 2022, the NFL's TV deals with Monday Night Football, FOX, CBS and NBC expire as well.

So, there's a very real possibility the league's salary cap could look much, much different in a few seasons. And that, according to Halsell, may make Scherff much less willing to accept an extension now.

"If you're Brandon Scherff, in 2021, with a new collective bargaining agreement, the salary cap might be $250 million or something crazy like that, with all the new revenue coming into the league," he explained. "And so why would I take a deal today and preclude myself of taking advantage of a very lucrative and larger revenue pie?"

Essentially, it comes down to whether Scherff wants to take a present risk that could pay off down the line (kind of like how Kirk Cousins did a few years back with the Burgundy and Gold). He could probably lock something in over the next few months — Halsell's projection was an agreement for five years, including $45 million guaranteed and a $14.5 million average per year — or step away from talks now and try to cash in later.

Haslell told Redskins Talk he'd probably advise the lineman to take the second route.

"You would say, 'Look, you're a former first-round pick. You've made a decent amount of money in your career thus far,'" he said. "You have the financial wherewithal to not take the bird in hand today that may not be as lucrative as what is out there in 2021. So, bet on yourself and play out the last year of your rookie deal, force them to tag you in 2020 and then see what this new NFL salary cap world looks like in 2021."

Now, who knows truly how much these factors will play into Scherff's back-and-forth with the 'Skins. Nevertheless, you can see why the Pro Bowler's next contract may not be as much of a no-brainer as previously thought.

"If the kid is willing to bet on himself," Haslell said, "then it could be very lucrative on the back end."

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Nickeil Walker-Alexander

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Nickeil Walker-Alexander

The Washington Wizards will have the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...

2019 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Nickeil Walker-Alexander

School: Virginia Tech
Position: Guard
Age: 20 (turns 21 in September)
Height: 6-6
Weight: 204
Wingspan: 6-10
Max vertical: N/A

2018/19 stats: 16.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 4.0 apg, 1.9 spg, 0.5 bpg, 47.4 FG% (5.6/11.8), 37.4 3PT% (1.7/4.6), 77.8 FT%

Player comparison: Shai-Gilgeous Alexander, Tomas Satoransky

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 19th, NBADraft.net 14th, Bleacher Report 18th, Sports Illustrated 20th, Ringer 16th

5 things to know:

*Walker-Alexander is a big guard known for his offensive skillset. He can handle the ball, pass and score in a variety of ways. He can play both point guard and shooting guard and affect games with his passing at either spot. 

*He was an excellent three-point shooter in college. As a freshman, he shot 39.2 percent from long range on 4.5 attempts per game. His percentage dipped as a sophomore to 37.4 percent, but that was still impressive given he attempted 4.6 shots per game. 

*Walker-Alexander has a plus wingspan, which he uses to his advantage on defense. He averaged 1.9 steals per game this past season in Blacksburg and his highlight reels are flooded with open court dunks off turnovers. He appears to have strong instincts as a perimeter defender, but could struggle initially at the NBA level against quicker and stronger guards.

*Though he has great size and length for a guard, Walker-Alexander is not considered a premier athlete for the position. He does not have elite quickness or the ability to play consistently above the rim. Because of that, some wonder how high his ceiling will be in the NBA. He may, however, have a high floor given his well-rounded game and basketball IQ.

*Walker-Alexander is from Canada. He has played for the national team as a junior and is part of a new wave of players from the country in the NBA. Walker-Alexander was a high school teammate of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who just enjoyed a strong rookie season with the L.A. Clippers.

Fit with Wizards: The Wizards need help at just about every position, so even a guard can't be ruled out. Walker-Alexander would give them more backcourt depth and that is needed long-term, even after John Wall returns from injury.

If Walker-Alexander can develop into an above average perimeter defender, he could be very useful for the Wizards. They need to improve at stopping dribble penetration and three-point shooters. They could use more players with Walker-Alexander's length and ability to force turnovers. Also, he would help spread the floor with his shooting.

All that said, the Wizards could probably find a player with more upside than Walker-Alexander with the ninth overall pick. He would be more in line with their decision to take Troy Brown Jr. last June.

Like Brown, he is smart and a safe bet to carve out a long NBA career. But could Walker-Alexander become an elite player at his position? He seems like a better option if they trade down into the teens and acquire more picks.

Best highlight video:

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