Thomas Pieters leads by a shot at 12-under 132
Thomas Pieters carded a flawless 65 to take the clubhouse lead midway through the second round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA. His total now stands at 12-under 132 for a shot lead over Jorge Campillo.
Pieters finished second at the event in 2016 and fourth in 2015, made three birdies on the back nine.
Pieters started his front nine with a birdie on the first, birdied the second with a 20-foot putt, and two-putts from just off the green on the par-5 8th resulted in him gaining the lead.
9th hole, his last hole for the day saw him in the sand with the tee and approach shots, which he miraculously turned into a birdie from the bunker itself.
“The conditions are perfect, no wind,” said Pieters. “It’s nice out there. So you need to take advantage of the conditions.
“I’ve done well here in the past and it suits me. We hit driver wherever we can and the rest of it, you know, it’s good ball-striking and going at a couple flags with wedges when you have them that you need to do that.
“It was nice to hole one on the last after two terrible shots. But the rest of it was decent today. Ball-striking was good.
“I hit most of the middle of the greens. If I had a wedge, I went at the flag and I think I got up-and-down or made birdie with a wedge in my hand three or four times. It wasn’t really that fancy today but a very good round.”
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) January 19, 2018
Campillo is playing in his 194th event on the European Tour and searching for his first big win at the event, climbed 15 spots up with his round of bogey-free eight-under 64, followed by 3-under 69 in the opening round, taking his total to 11-under 133.
The birthday boy and opening round co-leader Tommy Fleetwood finished T-3rd today with his round of four-under 68 consisting five birdies and a bogey. He is joined by Ross Fisher and Alexander Levy at 10-under 134.
Hideto Tanihara, the co-leader from the opening round now stands at T-21st with his round of 72 today consisting two birdies and two bogeys. He is joined by Jeunghun Wang, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Paul Dunne, Kristoffer Broberg, Henrik Stenson, Richie Ramsay, Ashun Wu, and Thomas Detry at 6-under 138.
Rory McIlroy returned to Golf much earlier than anticipated and is making his mark with eleven spots upward movement on the board for a T-6th finish today, consisting a bogey-free round with an eagle on the finishing hole. McIlroy’s total score now stands at 9-under 135.
The World No.1 Dustin Johnson is T-11th with his round of bogey-free 8-under 64 today, helping him move 58 spots up to join Branden Grace, who too did a similar feat, Ryan Fox, Dylan Frittelli, Andrew Johnston, Chris Paisley, and Fabrizio Zanotti at 8-under 136.