Rory McIlroy couldn’t repeat his Thursday performance at The Omega Dubai Desert Classic, but plays well enough to get in the clubhouse with the 36-hole lead. Tiger Woods continues to struggle with his driver at the Emirates Golf Course in the U.A.E. but makes the cut and will play on the weekend. Don’t look now, but there is a Henrik Stenson sitting on the leaderboard. The top American in Dubai after two rounds is….Bruce Koepka. Who…?
If you had a chance to see Rory McIlroy in the first round at the 25th anniversary of the Dessert Classic on Thursday, you would have to agree, he looked unbeatable. But as we all know, the “Golf God” is an elusive mistress.
The 24 year-old Northern Irishman started on the front nine, started with a bogey, and spent the day trying to hang on to the lead as we go into the weekend. He picked up a couple more bogeys on the back nine and signed for a -2 under par for his effort. At -11 under par, he has a one-shot lead over American, Bruce Koepka.
Like another young American, Peter Uihlein, Bruce Koepka is playing on the European Tour in attempt to earn his PGA Tour card. The youngster from Palm Beach, Florida followed a first round 69 with a bogey-free -7 under 65 on Friday to climb into sole possession of second place.
The biggest move on the day in the desert was Danny Willett from Scotland. Willett went crazy on the back nine, putting birdies on six of the nine holes. He overcame one bogey on the day at the fifth hole to card a -7 under 65, and moved up 49 positions on the leaderboard.
Willett is tied for third place at -8 under par with Irishman Damien McGrane, and Julien Quesne (pronounced Cane) from France.
Don’t look now, but the 2013 FedEx Cup, and Race To Dubai champion, Henrik Stenson is only four strokes back as we head into the weekend. He is at -7 under par, and tied for sixth place with a host of players that include the 2013 Omega Dubai Desert Classic champion, Stephen Gallacher, Scot, Jamie Donaldson, and Italian Edoardo Mollinari.
The big Swede has struggled since coming back to work, but got around on Friday with a bogey-free 65. He played pretty well on Thursday but had too many bogeys to net a good score. He made seven birdies in the first round, but five bogeys killed his score. He would have none of that on Friday.
“I think there is still a little way to go but today was the best I have putted for a long, long time,” said Stenson, who became the first man to win the FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai in the same season in 2013.
“I was threatening on every putt and kept the score together with no bogeys which is always a good sign.”
Last, but not least. Tiger Woods continues to struggle with his driver. He fired a one over par 73 on Friday, but makes the cut and will play on the weekend. Don’t worry, there is no secondary cut this week, and we should see the World’s number one on Sunday.
We will more than likely not see a Tiger/Rory matchup on Sunday for an epic finish. With Henrik Stenson moving up the leaderboard, that wouldn’t be such a bad finish for Sunday. If both players can survive “Moving Day”, who knows, maybe fans will get a classic Sunday finish!
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