x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Stenson comes through the fog

Henrik Stenson ends a frustratingly truncated second day of the Dubai Desert Classic holding a one-stoke lead.

Henrik Stenson putts on the 17th hole of the Dubai Desert Classic. Stenson hit a second round seven-under-par 65.
Henrik Stenson putts on the 17th hole of the Dubai Desert Classic. Stenson hit a second round seven-under-par 65.

DUBAI // Henrik Stenson ended a frustratingly truncated second day of the Dubai Desert Classic holding a one-stoke lead having benefited from his favourable place in the draw to become one of only 48 players from a field of 126 to complete 36 holes. The Swede, who won this tournament two years ago, stood at 11 under par at the halfway stage, one stroke ahead of another previous winner Richard Green, of Australia. Rory McIlroy, the first-round leader from Northern Ireland, managed to complete only three holes on Saturday and a bogey at the first hole left him one shot worse off than he had started when the hooter to suspend play was sounded shortly after 6pm. By then, McIlroy had also been passed by the world No 2 Serio Garcia who posted a second round of 66 to add to the 70 he recorded after resuming his first round once the irritating fog had lifted. The Indian player, Jeev Milkha Singh, had brought himself level with McIlroy on seven under par after adding a 68 to the 69 he had posted in the first round. Stenson, who has a home only three minutes away from the Majlis course at Emirates Golf Club, was delighted to be in such a strong position at what was for him the halfway stage. "I'll be able to have a good sleep," said Stenson. "So I've got to say it's been a pretty good day for me. I don't know how much I'm going to play [on Saturday] but it doesn't matter. It's not been much fun for the guys who haven't finished so I can't complain."

Green, who lifted the distinctive coffee pot trophy here in 1997, had the best round of the day to move from three under par to 10 under and begin the third day one ahead of Garcia. "This is right up there with my best rounds," said Green.

"This is a lot longer and tighter than it was when I won 12 years ago. I just felt great out there. I was driving the ball so well." Garcia was also happy to be only three shots off the pace. "I felt as though I was in control the whole time out there," said the Spaniard. It's just a shame I couldn't be two or three shots better on the greens." Khalid Yousef, the Emirati teenager who received an invitation to play in the Classic for the second successive year, will not be in action on Saturday after recording an 81 yesterday which left him last at 14 over par. Jamie Wood, who won the professionals qualifying competition, was only one stroke better off at 13 over par. wjohnson@thenational.ae