garcia molinari top in dubai golf
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Arab Today, arab today
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
Arab Today, arab today

After late Westwood stumble

Garcia, Molinari top in Dubai golf

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Garcia, Molinari top in Dubai golf

Sergio Garcia shares the overnight lead in the $8 mn DP World Tour
Dubai - Arab Today

A final-hole bogey by overnight leader Lee Westwood handed the lead of the $8 million DP World Tour Championship to Sergio Garcia and Francesco Molinari, while Henrik Stenson remained in control of the Race to Dubai on Friday.

Westwood, the champion in the inaugural year back in 2009, looked in good position to retain sole possession of the lead after a great drive down the par-5 18th hole, but his second shot rolled into the water and he ended up with a bogey to finish on eight-under par 136 at the halfway stage of the season-ending championship.

Garcia and Molinari, who had finished in the groups ahead of Westwood, both shot five-under par 67s to add to their 68s on Thursday.

A group of four players -– Tyrrell Hatton of England, Charl Schwartzel of South Africa, Austria's Bernd Wiesberger and Dutchman Joost Luiten -– were tied for fourth place at seven-under par 137.

In the battle for the Race to Dubai honour, leader Stenson retained the advantage despite playing nowhere near his best in a three-under par 69 round.

The Swede, who is looking to secure his second European No.1 crown having also won in 2013, made some long putts even as his long game deserted him.

However, his rivals failed to make any significant advances with second-placed Danny Willett shooting 70 and joining him on three-under par, while No.3 Alex Noren was on four-under par after a 69.

Stenson, who saved two crucial pars on the 13th and 14th holes with long putts, said: "I had a better putter for sure. I made some nice birdies out there I thought and still scrambled for par pretty well.

"Yeah, long game is not the way we want it, but I'm hanging in there, fighting. Keeping it in play most of the time. It's just hard when I'm in the rough a bit more than I would have liked to and it's just hard to control. I am not great playing but a much better day than yesterday. Hopefully, I can build on this."

- McIlroy still confident -

Garcia, whose last win on the European Tour came at the 2014 Qatar Masters, moved into contention in the Middle East once again with a round that featured some sensational ball-striking on another day when afternoon wind bothered the players.

Except for two bad tee shots, one of which resulted in his solitary bogey on the 13th, Garcia was in complete control as he made six bogeys.

"I played nicely. Obviously, didn't hit good tee shots on 12 and 13, but we gave ourselves a lot of birdie chances. We could have scored better. We could have made some more putts but it's not easy, when you’re having 12, 15, 18-footers. You’re going to miss some of them," said the world No.15.

"I’m excited about my chances. It's good to be out there with a chance, the last tournament of the year. I just want to make sure that I keep playing the same way I've played these first two days and see where that takes us."

World No.36 Molinari also made only one bogey, on the 10th hole.

"Maybe yesterday the start was even better, but played pretty solid the whole round. I think I had a little lapse in concentration on the 10th and then recovered well. I’m happy where I am after two rounds," the Italian said.

Defending champion Rory McIlroy shot a four-under par 68 -– a seven-shot improvement on his 75 from Thursday, and felt he was still in with a chance to win over the weekend.

"I holed a few more putts today. Mentally yesterday, I was still on holiday I think. I just wasn't really with it. Wasn't at the races. I felt a bit better out there today," he said.

"I have to wait and see what the guys do this afternoon. I guess if I’m within sort of eight or nine shots going into the weekend, I still feel like I have a decent chance."

Source: AFP

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