Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 5 April 2020

Eddie Pepperell leads Omega Dubai Desert Classic midway through Friday

Englishman reaches 8-under for the tournament on challenging Majlis Course

Eddie Pepperell leads the Omega Dubai Desert Classic midway through Friday's Round 2.

On another challenging morning at Emirates Golf Club, the Englishman went round in 5-under par 67, to reach 8-under for the tournament.

He leads Robert Karlsson and Dean Burmester by one, at the conclusion of the Friday morning matches.

It might have been even better for Pepperell. He had played his first 13 holes in 6-under, only for his form to cool – coincidentally just as the tournament broadcast cameras started to focus on him.

“I was happy with how I was feeling early and I got off to a nice start,” Pepperell said.

“For the most part it was very, very good until the cameras came along. I must have been concerned with how I was looking, because then I started struggling.”

Although scoring slightly improved on day 1, which was the second toughest in tournament history judged by the scores to par, it was still proving a test.

Karlsson is part of the players committee responsible for tightening up the Majlis Course, in response to the high scoring of recent years.

Bryson DeChambeau won in a Classic-record low score of 24-under last year. In response, fairways have been tightened, rough thickened, and players have been suggesting the greens are harder and faster than in recent times, too.

“The tricky thing is we had a couple of years where they set it up a little bit nicer around the greens, with less rough, we want to have more runoff areas and now we don't have any wind,” Karlsson said, after his second round 68.

“The cut goes way down, and the players don't like it. I think players want to have a bit of a tougher conditions and I'm very, very happy the way that they set it up.

“That's been my personal response from the players. The problem on this golf course is there's a lot of doglegs where you cut across, so it's really hard to hit fairways on holes like 1 and 6 and 18.

“But everybody knows it and you play for it, so, but I like it.”

DeChambeau had moved to 4-under for the tournament after his first six holes, as he looks to defend his title.

Updated: January 24, 2020 02:35 PM

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