Friday, 22 January 2016
Day 2 Highlights - Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship

Andy Sullivan grabbed a one-shot lead at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on Friday, but he will have to wait and see if he still holds it when the second round concludes on Saturday morning.

There was a two hour and 45 minute delay in the morning due to fog, meaning some of the 60 players who have yet to complete their rounds will have as many as ten holes to play upon the resumption at 0740.

Second-placed Bryson DeChambeau will have nine to complete after picking up one shot on the back nine to get to nine under before the sun set over Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

The 22 year old American is bidding to become just the fourth amateur in history to win on The European Tour and he has shown no signs of nerves in a field which includes four of the top ten players in Official World Golf Ranking.

Reigning Race to Dubai champion Rory McIlroy was five off the lead with five to play, level with playing partner Rickie Fowler and two shots clear of World Number One Jordan Spieth, who completed the marquee group.

But Sullivan is the man to catch after a second consecutive 67 for the Englishman who has good memories of his last visit to the Gulf states, when he pushed 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 here 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 to 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.

"I think today was even more impressive than yesterday," he said. "I think yesterday, I had it under a lot of control and it felt quite easy.

"Today, started off great, lost my way through the middle part of the round and dug deep and finished really strong with three birdies.

"I think on the whole, much much happier with today and obviously it puts me in good stead finishing that way for the rest of the tournament."

He added: "I feel totally different coming in. This time last year, I had already won but still felt this tournament of this magnitude with the players, I knew that I would have to go some to do it.

Coming in this year, I know if I bring any A Game, I'm going to have a good chance at being up there now - Andy Sullivan

"It's nice to do that, and obviously to go out there and actually put your A Game to the test is great."

Overnight leader DeChambeu quickly wiped out the advantage Sullivan had established in the morning as he holed from eight feet on the tenth and 15 feet on the 12th but a bogey on the par five 18th saw him drop to second.

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.

Thomas Bjørn was also seven under through 11 holes as he got his 2016 campaign under way. Last year was only the second in his career that he failed to record a top ten but birdies on the first, fifth, seventh and tenth have put him in contention to quickly correct that.

England's Richard Bland completed the group three off the lead having also played 11 holes and he had birdies on the 14th, 15th and 18th.

Swede Peter Hanson fired a second consecutive 69 thanks to birdies at the ninth, 16th and 18th to sit a further shot back alongside David Howell who was two under for his round with two to play.

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.

Then came McIlroy and Fowler, who endured contrasting fortunes in the 13 holes they completed.

Fowler had been overshadowed by his playing partners in round one but he picked up birdies on the second, eighth and 12th as McIlroy and Spieth failed to fire.

The Northern Irishman had 12 pars and a single bogey on the ninth while Spieth struggled off the tee and bogeyed the fourth and fifth before picking up a shot on the tenth.

Three-time winner Martin Kaymer was in the group at five under, two under for the day through 12 holes, with BMW PGA Championship winner Byeong-hun An also two under on the day having played 11.

The third round, going off the first and the tenth holes in three-balls, will not begin before 1045.

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Tournament Leaderboard

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

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