Lorenzo-Vera extends Dubai advantage

Mike Lorenzo-Vera carded a 69 to take a three shot lead into the weekend at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai as Tommy Fleetwood edged ahead in the battle to be crowned Europe's Number One.

Mike Lorenzo-Vera

Lorenzo-Vera shook off illness to open up a one shot advantage after 18 holes at Jumeirah Golf Estates and moved to 12 under on day two as he looks for a first European Tour victory at the eighth Rolex Series event of the 2019 Race to Dubai.

Fleetwood is one of five players who could win the Race to Dubai on Sunday and his 68 moved him into a share of second and pole position to take the season long spoils.

Jon Rahm could also win the Harry Vardon Trophy and he was alongside Fleetwood at nine under after a 69, two shots clear of England's Tom Lewis.

World Number Two Rory McIlroy was at six under alongside South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Belgian Thomas Pieters, a shot clear of Swede Marcus Kinhult and England's Justin Rose.

Lorenzo-Vera's 12 under total matches the lowest ever 36 hole score at this event and while every player who has led by more than one at the halfway stage has gone on to win, the Frenchman has held the 36 hole lead on the European Tour five times before without getting over the line.

"Tactically I know what I have to do and I know that the winds are going to be different this weekend," he said. "I'm not going to push more than what I'm doing now. I'm trying to trust my putter 100 per cent and that's what I can do.

"I've got a three shot lead and it's better than three shots behind. It's just going to be stressful because it's big dogs behind me that are going to try to bite me, so it's going to be interesting."

Lorenzo-Vera made a fast start as he put an approach to five feet at the first and then played a brilliant third to get up and down and birdie the par five second.

He did well to get up and down again for par on the third but could not repeat the trick on the fifth and the lead was back to two.

That soon became three as playing partner McIlroy fell back and Fleetwood started to make his move.

He had birdied the first from 20 feet and while he dropped shots on the third and fourth, a 12 foot birdie on the fifth had him back level for the day.

The Englishman then made the most of the seventh and put his approach close at the eighth to move into a tie for second and top of the provisional Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex.

Lorenzo-Vera made a two putt birdie on the seventh to extend his lead to four and a slippery 15 footer on the eighth moved him five ahead at the turn.

A two putt birdie from just off the green at the 14th had Fleetwood in solo second and he and Lorenzo-Vera began to pull away. A chip-in at the 13th extended the lead again but Fleetwood put an approach in tight at the 15th before Lorenzo-Vera took advantage of the 14th.

The lead was up to six as Fleetwood bogeyed the 16th but Lorenzo-Vera dropped a shot on the 15th as Rahm made a move.

The Spaniard had turned in 37 with a double, a bogey and two birdies but he made the most of the 14th and then holed a six footer on the 16th.

Fleetwood birdied the par five 18th to get within four of the lead but Rahm put his second to ten feet to eagle the same hole and join last week's winner in second.

A three putt on the last then saw Lorenzo-Vera's lead halved from what it had been just four holes ago.

Fleetwood is looking to win a second Race to Dubai title in three years after his 2017 triumph and last week's winner is looking forward to the weekend.

"It's just a classic case of trying to stay in the moment and take each shot as it comes," he said. "There's a lot going on over the weekend, there's a lot of different scenarios and players in the mix.

"There's a lot of things going on around you so the more internally focused you can be and the more you can just stay in your bubble, it will just be a great challenge going into the weekend trying to do that."

Lewis made four birdies and two bogeys, while Bezuidenhout fired the lowest round of the day with a 67, one shot fewer than Pieters.

McIlroy battled to a 74, while Race to Dubai leader Bernd Wiesberger was at three under alongside fellow contender Shane Lowry, one clear of Matthew Fitzpatrick.

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