Matthew Fitzpatrick holds the clubhouse lead midway through Day 2 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA.
Just as the marquee group of Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood and Shane Lowry were taking to the first tee, Fitzpatrick was polishing off his day’s work on the neighbouring ninth green.
The Englishman carded a 5-under par round of 67. That took him to 9-under for the tournament, a shot clear of the overnight leader Renato Paratore, Haotong Li and Koepka.
Fitzpatrick has yet to drop a shot in 36 holes so far, as he targets a second Tour win in the UAE. He won the season-ending DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in 2016.
Li, who also knows what it is like to win in the Emirates, having won the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in 2018, shot 69 to get to 8-under.
By the time Li had finished his round, Koepka was already moving. The world No 1 birdied the first and second holes, having started the day at 6-under par.
Shaun Norris, who held a share of the lead overnight after a fine opening round of 8-under, fell back after a poor Friday morning performance.
The South African carded seven bogeys in his round of 77, that left him on 3-under for the tournament.