If you have been watching a lot a golf since the PGA Championship in August, it should come as no surprise that Justin Rose has the lead at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in Abu Dhabi after two rounds. Rose finished tied for third at Kiahwah Island back in August, and has been on a tear every since with a second place finish at the DP World Championship, Dubai. He also finished with a T6 at the Masters in 2012, and a T5 at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational.
The world’s number 5 player has finally arrived.
After sharing the first round lead with Jamie Donaldson at -5 under par, Rose fired a second round 69 to take a one-shot lead at -8 under par for the tournament over Donaldson and two other players. He picked up his only bogey of the day at the third hole, and held on with eight pars and one birdie on the back nine in windy conditions to retain his lead. Gonzalo FDEZ-Castano from Spain, and Thorbjorn Olesen from Denmark, joined Donaldson at -7 under par in second place. Castano had one of the better rounds of the day, shooting a -5 under par 67.
American Jason Dufner shot a -3 under 69 on Friday, and is tied for seventh place at -4 under par, and is only four strokes back going into the weekend. Dufner made some birdies on the back nine coming down the stretch in the windy conditions and picked up his only bogey of the day at the par 4 14th hole. He will join Todd Hamilton as the only two Americans that will play the weekend. Hamilton also shot 69, and is at even par.
Going home early are the world number one and two players. Rory McIlroy had another horrible day, shooting his second consecutive 75, and finishing at six over par, well beyond the cut line. Tiger Woods played hard coming down the stretch in hopes of making the cut at one over par, and was notified after the round that he had incurred a two stroke penalty at the fifth hole and would be at +3 over par, and out of the tournament.
Woods hit his drive on five into a sandy area that was abundant with vegetation, and after calling playing companion Martin Kaymer over for verification that his ball was plugged, removed and dropped his ball. He was notified on the 11th hole that he may have incurred a two stroke penalty, and that it was under review. Turns out, if the ball had been plugged in the fairway, and not a sandy area, he would have been ok, but the sand was the problem. The infraction was brought to an officials attention by a couple of fans, and an investigation was begun. He was given a two stroke penalty for the infraction, and missed the cut with the three over par total.
Rory McIlroy added some drama to the round when it was discovered that he had abandoned his new Nike putter, and had put his Scotty Cameron putter back in the bag with the Nike cover on it. It didn’t seem to help McIlroy’s situation, and he didn’t putt any better on Friday than he did on Thursday. His big problem was the same problem Tiger Woods had – they couldn’t get a drive to land in the fairway. As a result, both players are heading home, and McIlroy will be taking four weeks off to get in some practice with his new clubs, while Woods will get some rest before teeing it up next weekend at Torrey Pines.
Follow Me on Twitter @Spin_47