Friday, 22 January 2016
Andy Sullivan  (Getty Images)
Andy Sullivan (Getty Images)

Andy Sullivan fired a second consecutive 67 to set the target at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship after the second round was delayed by early morning fog.

The players teed off two hours and 45 minutes later than planned but that proved no distraction to the Englishman who book-ended his round with two three-birdie runs to get to ten under.

Overnight leader Bryson DeChambeau, looking to become just the fourth amateur winner in European Tour history, was two shots back after his opening 64 and due to tee off at 1550 following the fog delay.

With sunset due at 1800 local time, the 22 year old American was likely to be one of a host of players who will have to return on Saturday morning to finish their second rounds.

That was no problem for Sullivan, however, who has good memories of his last visit to the Gulf states, when he pushed Rory McIlroy all the way at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.

The 28 year old finished eighth in last season's Race to Dubai after claiming three wins and arrived at Abu Dhabi Golf Club on the back of claiming three points out of three for Europe at last week's EURASIA CUP presented by DRB-HICOM.

He continued the theme of threes on Friday as he opened with three birdies from the tenth and, after dropping a shot on the 15th, he played a fantastic second shot from a fairway bunker on the first set up another gain.

A bogey on the fifth dropped him out of a share of the lead but he put his tee shot on the seventh inside ten feet and rolled it in before picking up another birdie on the next to move ahead.

A closing birdie on the ninth from 25 feet then made him the first man this week into double figures.

Joost Luiten fired a 68 to sit at seven under in his first start since he finished in a tie for fifth at the season-opening Alfred Dunhill Championship.

The Dutchman, who started on the tenth, turned in 33 after making three birdies in four holes from the 15th. Six pars followed but a lengthy putt on the seventh handed him another red number to sit in the clubhouse three off the lead with Rafa Cabrera-Bello.

The Spaniard opened with a bogey on the tenth but had back-to-back birdies on the 13th and 14th and came back in 32 to post a 67.

Henrik Stenson, looking to complete a grand slam of Gulf events having won The Commercialbank Qatar Masters, the Dubai Desert Classic and the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, was alongside Luiten and Cabrera-Bello at seven under and level par after four holes of his second round.

Fellow Swede Peter Hanson fired a second consecutive 69 thanks to birdies at the ninth, 16th and 18th to sit a further shot back alongside reigning Race to Dubai champion McIlroy who was level par through five holes.

The Northern Irishman was playing alongside Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler and, while Fowler was three under after a brilliant lengthy putt on the second, the World Number One was struggling.

Spieth had lamented his play off the tee on day one and was experiencing the same problems again as he dropped shots on the fourth and fifth to sit two under.

Richie Ramsay fired nine birdies in a 66 to get to five under alongside Ian Poulter who signed for a 69 despite playing with an injured thumb.

Matthew Fitzpatrick was also in that group after he showed considerable tenacity in a battling 71, alongside Matthew Baldwin, David Horsey, Trevor Fisher Jnr and Fabrizio Zanotti.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1FOWLER, RickieUSA18-16
2PIETERS, ThomasBEL18-15
T3STENSON, HenrikSWE18-14
T3MCILROY, RoryNIR18-14
T5SIEM, MarcelGER18-11
T5SPIETH, JordanUSA18-11

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