Saturday, 23 January 2016
McIlroy pleased with his finish

Rory McIlroy produced a brilliant finish to vault himself to within two shots of the lead as the second round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship eventually reached its conclusion on Saturday.

A fog delay of two hours and 45 minutes on Friday had seen round two spill into Saturday, only for the early resumption to be delayed by two hours and 50 minutes as more mist descended on Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

When the 60 players who had to finish their rounds emerged at 0630, it was McIlroy who shone, producing a birdie-eagle finish to move to eight under, two shots behind Andy Sullivan who had signed for his second consecutive 67 on Friday afternoon.

After an opening 66, the Race to Dubai champion had looked distinctly out of sorts in his second round and was one over after a bogey on the ninth as the sun set on day two.

He resumed on the 14th and made a trio of pars, missing a short putt for birdie on the 16th, before he missed by inches from 100 yards on the next and tapped in from two feet for a first gain of his round.

The Northern Irishman, who has four second places in the last five years at this event, then nearly holed his second at the par five last and had another tap-in for eagle.

I said, 'let's finish three-three' and I was able to. I don't know if I should say that to myself on the first tee, 'okay, let's have 18 threes here' - Rory McIlroy

"I knew I needed something and I knew I wanted to finish well and I knew 18 was a chance and 17 playing downwind, I would have a wedge in there. So I knew I had a couple of good chances. But I didn't quite expect to do it on 18 there. That was a nice way to finish.

"I've been close before but never had an albatross. Looked pretty close from back there. I'm not sure how close it did come to going in but just happy to finish with an eagle like that and get myself up the leaderboard and stay within touching distance of the leaders."

He added: "Average round to be fair but that's the thing, even when you're not really at your best, to be able to come away with a 70 and still keep within it up of the leaders, I'm really happy with that."

Bryson DeChambeu, aiming to become just the fourth amateur in history to win on the European Tour, was alongside McIlroy after registering two bogeys and a birdie in his remaining nine holes.

Henrik Stenson, looking to complete a grand slam of Gulf state events having won The Commercialbank Qatar Masters, the Dubai Desert Classic and the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, had a trio of birdies upon the resumption to salvage a level par 72.

The World Number Five was three over for his round but birdied the 15th, 16th and 17th to get into the group at seven under.

Robert Rock, the 2012 champion here, also had three birdies on the fourth, sixth and seventh to join that group with BMW PGA Championship winner Byeong-hun An, who birdied the 17th and 18th, and David Howell who had a gain on the eighth.

Thomas Bjørn had a birdie and a bogey upon resumption to stay at seven under alongside Joost Luiten and Rafa Cabrera-Bello who had finished on Friday.

Martin Kaymer and Rickie Fowler both picked up a single shot in the morning, the latter with the help of hitting the pin from 100 yards on the 16th, to sit at six under alongside Richard Bland and Peter Hanson.

World Number One Jordan Spieth parred his way in to sit at three under.

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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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