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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 8 March 2021

Hatton opens up five-stroke lead as fading light halts play in Abu Dhabi

McIlroy and Langasque among quartet chasing the Englishman

Tyrrell Hatton battled blustery conditions and fading light to open up a five-shot lead in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

The Englishman eagled the second hole but bogeyed the next. He then carded three par putts followed by four birdies in the first 13 holes of his second round before play was suspended because of poor light.

“I'm obviously in a great position at the moment,” said Hatton, who now stays on course for a fourth Rolex Series title.

“It was certainly tough out there so I'm really happy to be five under. I holed some nice putts and there were a couple of par putts towards the end of my round – nice to hole them and keep a bit of momentum going.”

Hatton, ranked ninth in the world, will resume his second round on 12 under par with a quartet challenging him on seven under.

They include the first round leader Rory McIlroy and Romain Langasque, both of whom must finishing their second rounds on day three, alongside Jazz Janewattananond and Jason Scrivener.

Following yesterday’s delayed start because of fog, Hatton and McIlroy began their second rounds late in the afternoon.

The Englishman made a fast start, following up his two eagles from round one with another on the second hole, before four consecutive birdies saw him take the outright clubhouse lead.

McIlroy started the day in a similar vein with two birdies through three holes, but a dropped shot on the fourth and a double-bogey on the next wiped his lead.

Earlier in the day, two-time Abu Dhabi HSBC champion Tommy Fleetwood was one of a group of players to finish their first round.

He bounced back with four birdies in his final nine holes to post 71 before carding a bogey-free 67 to move six under.

“Yesterday I struggled, I think I just forced it a little bit,” Fleetwood said. “It was really windy going out there in tough conditions and I think I tried to force a few golf shots playing in the wind, trying too hard.

“Today I did things a lot better. I was driving it really well and that made such a big difference in the wind. I hit some great irons, holed out really well. I didn't really give anything away. It was a much better day.”

Play will restart early on Saturday to complete the second round, and the third round will be played in three balls.

Published: January 23, 2021 02:31 AM

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