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Friday, 21 January 2011
Martin Kaymer  (Getty Images)
Martin Kaymer (Getty Images)

Martin Kaymer put himself in pole position to successfully defend his Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship title as he reached the halfway stage 12 under par.

A week after Charl Schwartzel retained the Joburg Open, US PGA Championship winner Kaymer added a superb second round 65 to his opening 67 despite wet and windy conditions.

Schwartzel, yet to finish outside the top four in his four events this season, is second on nine under after adding a 71 to the opening 64 which gave him the first round lead, with Northern Ireland's US Open Champion Graeme McDowell four behind in third spot thanks to a 70.

This is Kaymer’s first event of 2011, but there were no signs of rust as he burst out of the blocks with five birdies in his first seven holes en route to a bogey-free round.

Even as rain and wind arrived, the German kept a bogey off his card and the good news keeps coming for The Race to Dubai champion, who looks well placed to take the top seven finish he needs this week to replace Tiger Woods as World Number Two.

“Yesterday I thought I had a good day already, but today I made early birdies,” said the 26 year old.

“On the first nine, I was five under par, and it also gave me the hope and the belief that I can play well again.”

Kaymer made the perfect start when he hit his wedge approach within five feet, before knocking one even closer at the third.

He holed from ten feet at the par four fifth, and a similar distance at the next.

The birdies were not as regular on the back nine, but a seven iron to a couple of feet at the 12th and a 15 foot putt two holes later kept the scoring ticking over.

“My ball striking was okay,” added Kaymer. “I missed a few drives way left on 8 twice, way right on ten. So it was spraying a little bit, but my putting always was consistent and good.

“Of course, if your short game is sharp, you can get a little bit more confidence than usual. You know if you miss a fairway, if you miss a green that you have a good chance to make the up and down.”

Kaymer expressed sympathy for Padraig Harrington after the Irishman was disqualified over a rules incident that came to light only after he had handed in a first round 65.

Kaymer, seeking a third win in the event in four years, had been due to play with Harrington again.

"It's a very unfortunate thing, obviously," he said. "But that's how it is.

"The way he played I think he would have had a chance to win, so he's a little unlucky there."

The only mistake Kaymer made was not bringing warmer clothing as the weather changed.

"I didn't even bring a sweater - I didn't think I needed one in the desert," added last season's European Tour Number One.

"All I had was a rain jacket and a little cardigan."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1KAYMER, MartinGER18-24
2MCILROY, RoryNIR18-16
T3GOOSEN, RetiefRSA18-14
T3MCDOWELL, GraemeNIR18-14
T5MAYBIN, GarethNIR18-12
T5LYNN, DavidENG18-12
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